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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ant-Man Comes to the Tenderloin

Posted By on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 10:11 AM

click to enlarge Have no fear! Ant-Man is here! - JOE ESKENAZI
  • Joe Eskenazi
  • Have no fear! Ant-Man is here!
The Tenderloin is a complicated place. It's not the sort of locale where things neatly break down into the simplistic worldview of superheros and supervillians. It's also not the sort of place you'd expect movie crews to film when they visit San Francisco; this kind of grittiness is a bit too real. 

And yet, the 'Loin figures to be the backdrop for a pending cinematic metahuman showdown. Or, at the very least, some B-roll. 

Wandering through the vicinity of Jones and Ellis yesterday, the realm was awash with heavy duty film equipment, cops, private security guards, and all manner of gaffers, best boys, and other movie-type workers. 

The name of the film scrawled, in pen on masking tape, on their boxes of equipment: "Bigfoot." 

Woe to anyone wandering, barefoot here, regardless of foot size. Bigfoot seems out of place in most cities (other than parts of Seattle, perhaps). While cops and security guards begged passing women exiting the pizza shop for a bit of their lunches ("How 'bout a piece? How 'bout a piece of a piece?"), the film techs revealed that "Bigfoot" was only a working title. 

"Think Marvel," one said. 

"It's about a guy with the powers of something with six legs. And very small," noted another. Suddenly playing an air guitar, he added, "There's a band: Adam and the ..."

Point taken. The Tenderloin is Ant-Man central.

The forthcoming film tells the story of one of Marvel Comics' lesser-known heroes and will star one of America's most likable actors: Paul Rudd. 

A cynical sort would say that a film about a man who can talk to insects is a natural for the 'Loin (a massive crushed cockroach was smeared across the sidewalk near a shooting location — and this was not movie magic). 

But area residents seemed to be enjoying the spectacle. Men huddled in doorways watching the proceedings. Crewmembers affixed and, later, removed Spanish-language signs on Jonell's Cocktail Lounge. Cops were everywhere. 

Even a superhero couldn't solve all the Tenderloin's problems. But it's nice to have one around. 

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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