Marvel's 'Agent Carter' is helping boost TV production in L.A.

Marvel's 'Agent Carter' is helping boost TV production in L.A.
Hayley Atwell plays Agent Peggy Carter. (Katrin Marchinowski / Marvel)

Superheroes still save the day in Los Angeles — at least on the small screen.

Although Marvel shoots most of its movies outside of California, the Walt Disney Co.-owned studio is expanding its foray into the local television market, contributing to a rebound in local TV production.


Marvel and ABC Studios recently began filming "Agent Carter" in L.A., the second locally produced TV series following Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," which debuted on ABC last fall.

Inspired by the "Captain America" films, "Agent Carter" tells the story of Marvel Comics character Agent Peggy Carter, played by Hayley Atwell.

The series was ordered in May and will debut on ABC in January during the mid-season break of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

Shooting under the pseudonym "Nylon," the production has already become a familiar presence on city and county streets.

An 85-member crew along with 70 extras converged on City Hall recently, filming scenes in the mayor's press room, the rotunda and north hallway. The production also filmed a stunt driving and fight scene in Griffith Park, setting up a green screen at Royce Canyon, according to film permits.

The crew was scheduled to film scenes this week involving gunfire effects at a marina in San Pedro, as well as a simulated car accident at the Port of Los Angeles, according to permits.

The new Marvel series is notable because it is helping to fuel a modest rebound in local television production.

Location shoots for television production in the Los Angeles area jumped 31% in the third quarter from a year earlier, according to a recent report from FilmL.A.

The increase reflected a shift in TV production patterns as well a crop of new dramas, including Steven Spielberg's sci-fi series for CBS, "Extant," starring Halle Berry; as well as the cable dramas "Matador" for El Rey Network and "Chasing Life" for ABC Family.

"The idea that some of these large budget dramatic series are returning to L.A. is exciting to us because TV dramas are one of the most economically valuable forms of production," said Paul Audley, president of FilmL.A. Inc. "The hope for us is that when these tax credits start kicking in July, some of the Marvel films will follow suit and return to California."

A bill recently approved by Gov. Jerry Brown tripled annual funding for California's film and TV tax credit program and allowed large budget features — those with a budget of more than $75 million — to qualify.

That is expected to make California a more attractive destination for the kind of big-budget superhero films that Marvel produces, including the hit movies "Captain America: The First Avenger," "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Avengers: Age of Ultron," which all filmed in Britain.

On Tuesday, Marvel announced plans to produce two more "Avengers" films and a third installment for "Thor." A sequel to "Guardians of the Galaxy" will be released three months earlier on May 5, 2017.

Marvel did not announce where those movies will be filmed and did not respond to requests for comment on "Agent Carter."


Follow me Twitter: @rverrier