A large pink banner decrying film crews in NYC currently hangs across the length of the Julia Testa Florist storefront at 111 Thompson Street in SoHo, where it was hung on Monday as Sofia Coppola's new movie, On The Rocks (starring Bill Murray, Rashida Jones, and Marlon Wayans) filmed nearby.
The sign reads: "Movie shoots kill small business. Come in, we're open! Don't let them bully you, you're allowed to walk past." It appears to be professionally printed but was accompanied by other handwritten signs on Monday (which are now gone).
This photo above was sent to Gothamist by a passerby on Monday night. "This store paid for a huge banner and taped up a few hand-made ones," the tipster, who asked that we only use her first name, Angela, told Gothamist, "I see shoots all the time in the area, I've just never seen someone blatantly protest one like that."
The handwritten signs that accompanied the banner were being put up around 1:30 p.m. on Monday. One read: "Jordan from OTR LLC told us 'you should take what you can get because we will film your store and disrupt our business anyway.' Go away OTR LLC." Another sign read: "We were not compensated for this shoot + threatened. We won't tolerate bullying." Another, on the door, read: "You can not force us to film here."
Angela said there was a film crew at work along Prince Street as she passed, on the right corner past that flower shop. She says the film crew did not interfere in her stroll—"No one stopped me"—though added the crew may have been at lunch. Angela also spotted "catering trucks all over between Prince and Broome... [and] two trailers were parked in front on West Broadway."
When we swung by this morning, Testa was not there, and the employee in the store declined to comment. However, Chloe Murphy, from Fountain House + Body (at 105 Thompson St) told us, "They were shooting around the block and would have to control the traffic on the street, so it was in response to this shoot. They didn’t close the block off, but at times when they were shooting they’d ask people to hold on for a minute or something."
This is typical with shoots, and while some New Yorkers become frustrated with it, the wait is never long, and it's always easy to reroute if you're in a big hurry.
Linda Pagan, from The Hat Shop (120 Thompson St), told us, "They were going to film on that side of the street, so they approached the people who were affected by it and offered the money." Pagan added that, "The production company were very nice. Because Sofia Coppola lives in the neighborhood, she wanted to cause the least amount of distress to the neighborhood, but the lady across the street [Testa] had another agenda."
Nether Testa or OTR LLC have responded to our request for comment, but if we hear back we'll update. Coppola's movie is filming in Bushwick today, but Testa's sign remains.
And let's all remember, if film crews didn't take advantage of our state's overly generous tax credits and film on location in NYC, we'd be watching TV shows and movies that show palm trees in Central Park.
Additional reporting by Adwait Patil.