Associated Press Writer
A feature film being shot at Tiger Stadium may mark the last time the old ballpark is used before it becomes a memory itself.
"The Irishman" tells the story of 1970s Cleveland-area union organizer and mobster Danny Greene. The picture stars Ray Stevenson, Val Kilmer, Vincent D'Onofrio and Christopher Walken.
The movie is being shot in Detroit through June, and filmmakers wanted to use "some kind of iconic landmark that was in Detroit ... even though we're going to play it for Cleveland," said Bart Rosenblatt, the film's producer.
Tiger Stadium, which opened in 1912 as Navin Field, was a perfect choice, Rosenblatt said, even if it meant tweaking the script to have it replace a boxing arena in one scene.
"It has a great look," he said.
Filming at the stadium was set for Thursday evening.
The Tigers departed the ballpark for nearby Comerica Park after the 1999 season. Wrecking crews went to work last June, and much of the stadium was torn down by fall.
A section stretching from dugout to dugout was left standing while a nonprofit group sought to raise money to preserve and redevelop the stadium as a commercial building with a working ballfield. But the city's Economic Development Corp. board voted Tuesday to reject the $33.4 million plan, saying the funding wasn't in place.
Complete demolition could begin as early as Monday, according to the city's Detroit Economic Growth Corp. Supporters of saving the stadium gathered there Wednesday evening after demolition equipment began to arrive.
Rosenblatt grew up in Boston attending games at Fenway Park -- which opened the same day as Tiger Stadium -- and said it's a shame the Detroit landmark soon may be gone.
"There aren't many of these ballparks left," he said.