Reversing what had been his total opposition to expanding the state’s film tax credit beyond its current cap, Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker said Monday he’d like to see the funding expand.
“I’ve been working on this dynamite little project for a few months now and I think it’s ready to take off,” he said. “I need $4.6, maybe $4.8 mil to get it off the ground.”
“It’s a mild-mannered cabinet secretary by day, crime fighter by night sort of deal. Working title: ‘Number Cruncher.’”
Walker said he floated his script to director Steven Soderbergh (of ‘Ocean’s 11’ fame) while the two shared a recent cab ride and, “he really dug the idea. Gave me the email of his publicist.”
Additionally Walker said he’s sent copies of the script to “Spielberg, Cameron – you know, just the top guys.”
It’s the first sign of leeway from Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration, which had previously refused to budge on the $60 million annual limit for the tax credit. Film and television programs produced in Pa. are eligible for the grants but Pa. must compete with other states like Massachusetts, which have no caps.
Opponents of the credit say it amounts to a free giveaway of tax dollars without adequate proof that Pa. gets a good return on its investment.
“We definitely need to, you know, spend taxpayer dollars wisely et cetera et cetera,” said Walker. “That’s why this is such a promising picture: I could play the lead, so we’re not talking about shelling out big bucks on the talent side.”
Walker said he was looking at Charlize Theron or possibly Scarlett Johansson as the film’s love interest.