Clevelanders proud to show off their city as ‘Fast 8’ begins shooting downtown

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CLEVELAND - Cars zoomed around taxi cabs as they raced through the streets of downtown Cleveland in the first day of filming for 'Fast 8' here Wednesday.

Action was centered at the intersection of Superior Avenue and East 6th Street, which was closed to the public.

Cleveland is doubling as Manhattan in the film, which is the latest installment of the adrenaline-pumping and successful "Fast and the Furious" franchise. Vehicles used in filming had New York license plates and signage was changed to reflect New York City.

Second unit filming in Cleveland was expected to involve action sequences and stunts, but the film's big-name stars are not expected here.

Still, hundreds of onlookers left their downtown offices to catch a glimpse of the action.

"I brought the camera hoping to see something," said Clifton Hayworth, who works nearby. "I actually was an extra when they filmed 'The Avengers' so I got to see that and be part of it, then got to see them film 'Captain America' and now this. So, it's cool they're doing all these movies downtown."

Most spectators said they didn't mind traffic tie-ups due to production-related road closures, which will shift throughout downtown in the coming weeks.

"It really doesn't bother me," Lisa Gargas said. "It's fun."

The muni lot is serving as base camp for crew members, with vehicles, equipment, trailers and catering happening there and shuttles transporting crew members to shoot locations.

Pete Rodriguez, a cook assistant for Mario's Catering, said he's among a catering crew of ten here from California to feed about 500 members of the film crew.

"Gotta get all the trucks, trailers out here, get everything organized, make sure you have ice, water," he said.

The Cleveland Film Commission said 'Fast 8' will generate nearly 400 jobs, in addition to spending by the crew on hotels and entertainment.

Local filming is expected to wrap around June 10, with the movie expected to be released in theaters in April of 2017.

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