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The Rum Diary fuels Puerto Rico film industry

7th November 2011 Print

The latest Johnny Depp film, The Rum Diary, shot entirely in Puerto Rico over 49 days, generated nearly $20 million(approx: £ 12.6 million) in economic activity, 200 direct jobs and more than 6,000 hotel room nights. The movie showcases the iconic narrow streets and hidden bars of Old San Juan and is released in the UK this Friday, 11th November 2011.

Johnny Depp had high praise for the island and brought his wife, Vanessa Paradis, and children to Puerto Rico during filming, confirming the Island’s identity as a celebrity hotspot.

“I [had] spent very little time in San Juan prior to this film,” Depp told US Entertainment Tonight. “There’s a real celebration of life there. The people are incredibly warm and very welcoming.”

Since 1999, more than 60 productions have taken advantage of incentive programs in Puerto Rico for film and creative services, including most recently Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, also starring Johnny Depp.

Barry Waldman, executive producer of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Bad Boys II said “the local crew, people and incentives added up to a great experience. I hope to one day shoot an entire movie in Puerto Rico.” Scenes from The Men Who Stare at Goats starring George Clooney was also shot in Puerto Rico in 2008 influencing the perception of Jim Holt, executive producer of The Men Who Stare at Goats. “People should look at Puerto Rico as more than just an island location,” says Holt. “The locations, people and bilingual crew are terrific.”

Puerto Rico is hoping to further boost its location appeal with expanded film law. The change comes at an opportune time given cutbacks in the film incentive offers of some US states with the new law expanding the definition of eligible projects to include documentaries, film shorts, music videos and the filming of live shows, among others and includes a 20 percent tax credit for non-resident talent. Actors may take the taxes paid in Puerto Rico as a foreign tax credit on their US tax return.