Americana: Fire Sale

Hard times in the Michigan housing market have made life easy for some film people making a horror flick. A couple of weeks ago, word got out that officials from Universal Pictures were scouting the state for a Southern colo nial mansion and a Victorian farmhouse that they could buy—and then burn down—in the filming of a disaster movie called Firestarter. With labor costs skyrocketing, it is cheaper to burn an existing structure than to build a set. But the Hollywood arsonists had not counted on a having their job made so easy. "Everybody has dollar signs in their eyes," says...

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