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Martin Freeman drama filming in Puerto Rico

Martin Freeman is filming new financial crime drama Start Up on location in Puerto Rico, doubling the streets of San Juan for Miami.

The ten-part series follows Freeman’s financial crimes FBI specialist as he investigates an illegally-funded start-up business being run in an uneasy alliance by a financier, a tech expert and a Haitian crime boss. Start Up will be streamed through the online platform Crackle, a unit of Sony Pictures Television.

“Start Up carries out our promise to continue our commitment to quality drama,” said Eric Berger, general manager of Crackle. “We are working with a top-notch team to produce a project that explores the motivations and complexities of creating a new venture, while walking a fine line between crime and legitimacy.”

Puerto Rico lies east of Cuba and the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean. As an unincorporated US territory that uses the US dollar, the island has become a popular filming location for exotic visuals and has hosted both the Pirates of the Caribbean (pictured above) and Fast & Furious movie franchises, as well as TV shows like Homeland and The Big C.

A base 20% filming incentive is available to non-resident producers, which sweetens Puerto Rico’s international appeal. A separate tax credit is designed to encourage the development of production industry infrastructure on the island. 

Crackle’s decision to film Start Up in San Juan is the latest blow for Florida’s production industry, given that the drama is set in Miami. 

Florida’s production industry is rallying to save a stripped-down version of its state-wide filming incentive. The rebate has faced a crippling lack of funds for the past few years and in fact is scheduled to end this summer.

Netflix drama Bloodline (pictured left) is one of the highest-profile productions currently based in Florida, in the southern Keys region. The series managed to secure incentive support for two seasons, but faces an uncertain future if the filming rebate is not extended – and funded – in some form beyond this year.

Despite Florida’s incentive challenges, EUE/Screen Gems Studios Miami has recently opened in the city. Viacom has set up a partnership with the studio and has announced its first TV series to be filmed at the facility. 

For more on filming in Puerto Rico see our production guide.

Pirates of the Caribbean image: Walt Disney Pictures

Bloodline image: Saeed Ayani/Netflix

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