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Filmmakers to Fulfill Lancaster’s Burning Desire on Vacant Tract

TIMES STAFF WRITER

About a dozen half-built houses in an abandoned Lancaster housing tract will be torched to film the climax of the movie “Lethal Weapon III” in exchange for a promise by the movie makers to demolish whatever remains of the structures, under a tentative agreement announced Thursday.

Aides to U.S. Sen. John Seymour (R-Calif.) said officials of the federal Resolution Trust Corp., which acquired the vacant Legends housing tract from a failed savings and loan, were completing an agreement with Warner Bros.

“It’s been approved. The lawyers for the RTC are just knocking out the language,” said Lisa Bierer, a spokeswoman for Seymour. The senator had intervened with the RTC last week, as part of an effort to retain movie business in the state, after the movie makers’ proposal stalled.

The city of Lancaster, which has a bid pending with the RTC to buy the property, had asked the movie makers to destroy the houses to remove an eyesore and save the city the expense of demolition.

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Under the deal, the movie makers can use up to 12 of the tract’s 54 structures, and later must demolish those they damage and clear away the debris, Bierer said. The flames alone won’t do the job because the film crew plans to insulate the wood and use propane to create a controlled fire.

Filming has begun in Los Angeles on the movie, starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, and Lancaster scenes are scheduled to begin in January.

Dennis Davenport, Lancaster’s assistant city manager, said he had heard that a deal had been reached but could not confirm it. RTC officials could not be reached for comment.


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