The June 23 local premiere of Knight and Day, the action comedy starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz that was partly filmed in Jamaica, was hosted by JAMPRO at the Carib Cinema in Cross Roads. Officials from the agency, members of the local film industry and other specially invited guests were on hand to watch the feature film that pumped US$1.35 m (J$121 m) into the local economy and created employment for 80 Jamaicans during a week of filming in Port Antonio (Frenchman’s Cove) in early February.
The trailer of Ghett’a Life, the latest project from local filmmaker Chris Browne, and a short feature on the New Caribbean Cinema initiative preceded the 109-minute 20th Century Fox film. The audience would have to wait for 50-odd minutes before the powdery white sand and beautifully serene waters of Port Antonio appeared on the screen.
“We’re off grid. No one has ever found me here,” declares Cruise (Roy) to Diaz (June).
This line provides a likely explanation as to why the locale was not identified by on screen text, consistent with what was previously done for Spain, Austria, Brooklyn and the jet set destinations in the film. The scene was never going to be a major plug for Jamaica, and when the bad guys trace a call to June’s phone, it is discovered that the signal is emanating from the Azores. In all, the scene shot in Jamaica enjoyed less than seven minutes of screen time. At the end of the film, the local production crew and a few guests stayed back to watch the credits roll and applauded when the “Jamaica Unit” appeared on the screen.
Frenchman’s Cove was selected as a location by the 20th Century Fox late last year after a four-day scouting exercise facilitated by JAMPRO. It managed to top several other competing locations as the perfect secluded beach for the shooting of pivotal scenes, and reunited Tom Cruise with the charming town of Port Antonio, which hosted him previously during the filming of “Cocktail” in 1988. It also reunited him with Cameron Diaz, his co-star in the 2001 psychological thriller Vanilla Sky.
Cruise had a lot riding on Knight and Day, but it appears that it will fail to meet expectations. The spectre of his couch jumping antics of 2005 on the Oprah Winfrey show and tiffs with Matt Lauer and Brooke Shields continue to haunt him and hurt his bankability at the box office. The film reportedly had its original release date adjusted so that it didn’t have to contend with the box office behemoth Twilight, however, it still put up less than impressive numbers. According to studio estimates, Knight and Day only managed to rake in US$20.5 million last weekend for third behind Pixar’s Toy Story (US$59 million) and Adam Sandler’s Grown Ups (US$41 million).
Jamaica Scene – Knight and Day