Gotta give the New York Post credit. They sure know how to milk a controversy during a slow news cycle -- especially one they create.
On Wednesday, the Post parked a photo of Will Smith’s “Men In Black 3” trailer -- his actual trailer, which was parked on the set in Lower Manhattan -- on its front cover. The reason? It’s rather big, and the Post figured residents in the Soho neighborhood would be upset. Not that they were, but it makes a good story. (“SoHo rage over Will’s huge trailer,” the paper proclaimed.)
On Thursday, the tabloid followed the “nontroversy” with a day-two story -- which also made the cover -- gloating that the “Men In Black” production was forced to move Smith’s “53-foot, $9,000-a-week” trailer to a private lot nearby in the wake of the paper’s Pulitzer-worthy coverage. (Seriously, it took four Post reporters – three bylined -- to break the trailer story.)
Amid intense pressure from furious residents -- egomaniac actor Will Smith begrudgingly moved his starship-sized movie trailer and separate gym trailer from the heart of SoHo to a nearby private parking lot yesterday, just in time to catch the special night rate.
By “intense pressure from furious residents,” the Post means two. Who happened to be walking by ... when the tabloid's reporters were waiting for Smith to appear ... so they could harass him.
Smith was forced to dock his leased 53-foot double-decker -- in town for his "Men in Black 3" shoot -- at a "Park Fast" lot half a mile away, after The Post revealed the monstrosity was choking business revenues and filling the streets with exhaust fumes. … Now the "I Am Legend" actor will have to trek to the trailer to get his makeup done, confer with his personal writers and lounge in his marble-floored, 100-inch-screen film room -- or walk less than a mile to his own $25,000-a-month Bond Street apartment.
The paper also got someone to ask Mayor Bloomberg -- who’s built part of his term as mayor luring Hollywood productions to the city -- during his daily press briefing about it.
"Why you need a trailer that big -- I didn't know trailers came that big," Bloomberg said. "If lots of people showed up with 'em, we'd certainly have to do something."
Despite no official complaints from residents -- as Capital New York's Tom McGeveran pointed out on Wednesday and confirmed by the Post on Thursday -- the Mayor’s office decided to make the studio move it anyway.
"To balance the interests of the production and the neighborhood, we have instructed 'Men in Black 3' to relocate the trailer to a private lot," the Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting said in a statement.
Not to be outdone, the Post found a city official to give the money quote.
"Hardworking New Yorkers have a right to wake up in the morning and not find a cruise ship parked out in front of their house," public safety committee chair Peter Vallone Jr. told the paper. "This is New York, not Hollywood. We don't roll that way."