Crews from Alcon Entertainment and the Travel Channel arrived this week to shoot on Island Estates and Clearwater Beach.
CLEARWATER — Island Estates and Clearwater Beach apparently have a cinematic appeal that hasn't waned.
For several days this week, a small film crew from Alcon Entertainment was at Clearwater Marine Aquarium filming some additional shots for the movie “Dolphin Tale 2,” which will open in theaters on Sept. 19.
The aquarium and marine animal hospital on Island Estates turned into a movie set against last October when filmmakers returned to shoot the sequel to the box-office hit based on the true-life story of a rescued dolphin that wears a prosthetic tail. Location work went on a brief hiatus over Christmas and New Year's and then wrapped up in mid-January.
This week, the crew returned for “some make-up shots to enhance the movie's visual effects,” CMA Chief Executive Officer David Yates said Tuesday.
Calling them “plate shots,” he explained that the scenes don't feature any human actors or specific set pieces. Instead, the crew was filming the building, the pools and surrounding areas, as well as close-ups of movie star dolphins Winter, Hope and Nicholas.
Those shots will allow the filmmakers to create the “digital magic” required to produce the final product, he said.
While actors weren't needed for the plate shots, Yates confirmed that Nathan Gamble, who plays Sawyer in both movies, was visiting this week to help promote the sequel. Last week, Cozi Zuehlsdorff, who plays Hazel, appeared at both the aquarium and its sister facility, Winter's Dolphin Tale Adventure.
The aquarium remained open during filming this week. “It was definitely an added bonus” for visiting guests, Yates said.
The first movie trailer or preview of “Dolphin Tale 2” will be released on April 11 with the new feature film “Rio 2,” according to Yates.
Travel Channel to film at Frenchy's
Meanwhile, Diane McManis confirmed that a crew from the Travel Channel show “Food Paradise” will be on site today at the beachfront Frenchy's Rockaway Grill, 7 Rockaway Street.
“Food Paradise,” narrated by Mason Pettit, features restaurants that offer unique cuisine and dining experiences across America.
Frenchy's grouper sandwich drew the attention of the show's staff as “one of the tastiest, most mouth-watering and decadent meals,” according to McManis.
The local restaurant is expected to be featured in the fall season of “Food Paradise.”
Patrons are welcome to watch the TV crew in action. Filming is expected to begin in the early morning and continue most of the day.