‘Underdog’ crashes in Cranston

Friday, October 28, 2005

Neither plane nor bird nor even frog – coming to Rhode Island soon, it’s little old Underdog.

State government officials and representatives from Walt Disney Studios announced Wednesday that the live-action movie “Underdog,” based on the beloved children’s cartoon of the 1960s and 1970s, will be filmed in Rhode Island. The project, which will begin filming next March, will bring hundreds of jobs and $50 million to the state’s economy, according to the Providence Journal.

Standing in for Underdog’s hometown of Capitol City will be the Cranston Street Armory and several sites in and around Providence, including the State House.

“This film will play around the world for years to come and will encourage tourists and businesspeople to come to Providence,” Mayor David Cicilline ’83 told the Journal. He added that he will be dressing up as Underdog for Halloween this year.

Instrumental in bringing “Under-dog” to the Ocean State was a series of tax credits passed earlier this year to attract film and television projects. The Herald reported in March that the incentives include a 20 percent labor employment tax rebate and a 25 percent rebate for private investors in Rhode Island films as well as a credit against the business corporate tax for motion picture companies coming to the state.

The film will feature Shoeshine the dog – to be created through a combination of a live dog and computer-generated effects – who gains superpowers after a laboratory accident, becoming Underdog. Other characters will include villainous scientist Simon Barsinister and Underdog’s true love, Sweet Polly Purebred.

“Anything where you have a dog in that superhero context, that’s appealing on a global basis,” the film’s producer, Gary Barber, told Variety.

The film is slated for release in 2007.

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