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Thread: Movie "Worcester Cold Storage" Families Against

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    Movie "Worcester Cold Storage" Families Against

    Filming to start in Aug.
    Saturday, February 8, 2003

    By Kathleen A. Shaw
    Telegram & Gazette Staff


    WORCESTER-- The families of six firefighters who died in the 1999 Worcester Cold Storage fire are launching a drive to keep Warner Brothers and Imagine Entertainment from making a movie about the blaze.
    Judging from the calls made to the Boston special events and tourism office this week, filming will not be done in Worcester.
    The screenplay for

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    Next film about 1999 firefighter tragedy.

    Mann Moves to Worcester
    Next film about 1999 firefighter tragedy.

    February 07, 2003 - The Boston Herald reports that Oscar-nominated director Michael Mann's next film will be Worcester Cold Storage for Imagine Entertainment and Warner Brothers. The fact-based drama will be scripted by Scott Silver (8 Mile) and based on Sean Flynn's 2002 book, 3000 Degrees: The True Story of a Deadly Fire and the Men Who Fought It. Both Silver and Flynn are Massachusetts natives. No casting has taken place yet but the filmmakers are reportedly inquiring with Boston's Office of Special Events, Tourism and Film for suitable locations. Filming begins this August.

    Worcester will recount the horrific December 3, 1999 warehouse blaze that killed six firefighters in Worcester, Massachusetts. (Comic-actor Denis Leary's cousin and childhood best friend were both killed in the disaster, prompting Leary to become a prominent philanthropist for firefighters.) The film's title refers to the name of the building where the fire broke out.

    The blaze was accidentally sparked by a bickering homeless couple who were later charged with involuntary manslaughter; they ultimately received five years probation. The homeless couple, who are both mentally ill, fled the warehouse once the fire spread and failed to inform authorities. The firemen had been searching the building to make sure no homeless people were trapped inside.

    AllBookstores.com provided the following synopsis of Flynn's book: "On December 3, 1999, the call crackled in to the men of the Worchester, Massachusetts Fire Department: a three-alarm warehouse blaze in a six-story windowless colossus of brick and mortar. Firefighters love the excitement of a 'triple.' But this was a different beast. Rollovers, flashovers, backdrafts, this one had it all. Once inside, they found themselves trapped in a snarling furnace of blazing orange heat as hot as a crematorium, with smoke so black and predatory they had to feel for their partners next to them. Swallowed deep in the building, with no way out, they struggled to survive an ill-fated ordeal that would push them to the very limits of loyalty and courage."

    For the past year Imagine Entertainment and Warner Brothers have been courting the victims' families and the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1009 for their blessing on the project but to no avail. "We are completely against this movie or any other movie about the fire," Michelle Lucey, widow of fallen firefighter Jeremiah Lucey, told the Herald. Lucey has been selected to speak "on behalf of five of the six families," according to the paper.

    "We have children to think about," Lucey said. "And I don't care if they pay us a trillion dollars, I don't want to relive that pain over and over again. ... I would hope that the people of Boston would help us out by speaking against this movie"

    Frank Raffa, president of Local 1009, attended a meeting with Imagine's reps last year and "thought we made it pretty clear to them that the Local and the families opposed it. I don't see any redeeming social value in it. This union won't cooperate with any production about the fire."

    The Boston Herald says that "although the flick hasn't gotten the final go-ahead, the studio plans to make the movie." A Warner Brothers spokeswoman advised the paper that the studio "bought the rights to the book that all the families took part in. And we will proceed to develop the material into a film."

    Worcester Cold Storage isn't the first film about a Massachusetts tragedy that Warner Brothers has made. The Perfect Storm was initially met with skepticism and hostility by locals who knew the doomed fishermen portrayed in that film; ultimately, the film's success only brought national attention to Gloucester, Mass. and its fishermen's tragic history. Nevertheless, that didn't prevent the family of ship captain Billy Tyne (played by George Clooney) from filing suit against the filmmakers.
    -- Stax
    PHOTO DIRECTOR MICHAEL MANN

    http://filmforce.ign.com/articles/385/385320p1.html

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    Firefighter's dad backs Worcester movie idea

    Firefighter's dad backs Worcester movie idea

    by Tom Farmer
    Thursday, February 13, 2003


    Relatives of one of the six Worcester firefighters killed in a horrific warehouse fire are going public with their support for a Hollywood movie chronicling the devastating 1999 inferno, saying the script ``brings out honor to these six men, their families and the American fire service.''


    The family of Lt. James F. ``Jay'' Lyons III is the only one of the six families in support of the film ``Worcester Cold Storage,'' which will be made by Imagine Entertainment and Warner Bros.

    Lyons' father, James F. Lyons Jr., told the Herald he understands and respects why the other families don't want the movie, but said he has read the script and it portrays the six men as ``heroes'' and shows their ``valor and courage.''

    ``We are not opposed to it if it's done by Imagine and Warner Bros.,'' Lyons said. ``This film will not make it any worse for us or any better for us. We live with the memories of this every day.''

    The Dec. 3, 1999, fire in the vacant, mostly windowless, six-story brick building also claimed the lives of Lt. Thomas E. Spencer and firefighters Jeremiah Lucey, Paul A. Brotherton, Timothy P. Jackson and Joseph T. McGuirk. The movie screenplay is based on the book ``3000 Degrees: The True Story of a Deadly Fire and the Men Who Fought It'' by Sean Flynn.

    While the six families gave interviews and posed for pictures for a July 2000 Esquire magazine article written by Flynn, five of the families say they did not know Flynn was writing a book. After Imagine and Warner Bros. bought the film rights, the five families and Worcester Fire Department union President Frank Raffa said they were told a movie would not be made unless it had all the families' approval.

    When the five families and Worcester firefighters learned the film was going to be made against their wishes, they expressed vehement opposition, saying it was going to bring back their grief and heartbreak, particularly to the younger children left fatherless.

    ``Mr. Lyons thinks it might be a good thing and we respect his opinion, but nonetheless we're going to be out there advocating they not make the movie,'' said Raffa.

    Thomas Spencer's son, Patrick, 20, now a Paxton firefighter, said the families and Worcester firefighters have only recently been able to put some of their hurt aside and a movie will only bring it back.

    ``Is it necessary to rehash this, all to line the pockets of people in Hollywood?'' he asked. ``I don't see how it benefits anybody other than them.''

    Lyons said he is sympathetic to the other families' stance but noted a film can be made regardless of how they feel.

    ``They have legitimate and real concerns and we can understand the apprehension here,'' Lyons said, adding Imagine and Warner Bros. are reputable and experienced filmmakers.

    Lyons said the script by Worcester native Scott Silver ``is an important contribution to the history of what happened. It brings out how these men cared for each other and the difficulty in fighting this fire and the failure of equipment they experienced.''

    The still-grieving father said he wants the movie to be a ``positive influence to young people and I hope it would influence and inspire them to be firefighters


    http://www2.bostonherald.com/news/lo...rc02132003.htm

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    Worcester Fire film could have some merit

    Fire film could have some merit
    Thursday, February 20, 2003

    By Dianne Williamson
    Telegram & Gazette Columnist


    In the aftermath of the Worcester Cold Storage fire, it has always been about the families.
    The feelings of the wives and mothers and sons and daughters were always paramount, and rightly so, in a city that strove to comfort and protect the loved ones of six brave men who died in the stunning, unforgettable fire.
    Amid the extraordinary attention heaped on the tragedy, the local firefighters union backed the wishes of the six families in whatever they chose, or chose not, to do. Whether it was attending public events, granting interviews or cooperating for a national magazine article, the union wrapped itself around the grieving families and spoke with one voice, and a tightly knit community largely followed suit.
    Three years have passed since the Dec. 3, 1999, warehouse fire. Now, not surprisingly, a movie studio has announced plans to make a film of the dramatic event. The Warner Bros. project will be directed by Oscar-nominated director Michael Mann, a top-drawer talent who directed the terrific film

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