School officials say they were duped into allowing a film crew associated with rap mogul Snoop Dogg to shoot scenes for a marijuana-themed movie on parts of Mira Costa’s campus earlier this week.
"It was a mistake that we made and we need to review our practices to beef them up and to see if there's some way to determine this kind of deception beforehand," Assistant Superintendent Dr. Steve Romines said Friday.
Several weeks ago Manhattan Beach Unified School District received a facility use application for the filming of a movie on the campus that was represented to be a G-rated comedy about the typical life of a high school student, Romines said.
The district granted Loop Productions three days of filming from May 8-10 for about $3,000 per day. At some point after the approval, production was handed off to The Yard Entertainment. The district was reportedly unaware of the switch until filming began.
After shooting was underway, district officials responded to concerns and became aware that “the theme and content of the movie was not as it was billed,” Romines said in a district statement on Tuesday. Instead, as reported on numerous entertainment news websites as early as January, the movie was set to be a “stoner comedy” featuring one of marijuana’s most vocal and well-known champions — rapper Snoop Dogg.
“Once we learned the true subject matter of the movie, we canceled the contract,” Romines said. “We got them off our campus as quickly as we could.”
The district will not be receiving any facilities use fees for the canceled project and is demanding that any footage taken not be used in the production, he added.
When classes resumed on Monday, rumors began to circulate that both film crew members and Mira Costa students were smoking marijuana during the shoot on Sunday. Romines denied this, saying he had confirmation “from four different sources that there was no smoking of tobacco or illegal substances while the group was on campus.”
La Vista, the school’s student-run newspaper reported that Vice Principal Paula Spence was present for both days of shooting and helped the crew scout locations, but that “she saw nothing objectionable about the content of the movie or the behavior of people on set while she was there.”
Some questionable language was used but not any illicit substances, Spence told the paper.
Romines told Patch that Manhattan Beach Police came by during Monday’s shoot because they saw lights on campus during early a.m. hours, but that “they didn’t find anything.”
Mira Costa Principal Ben Dale, however, said some profanity-laced footage from the shoot posted on YouTube seems to confirm that marijuana was brought onto campus. In the video, the rapper, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, Jr., can be seen pulling a box of what appears to be cigars from inside his jacket, but what another crew member refers to as “pre-rolled."
“He’s only talking about one thing,” Dale said.
“It was evident to us that they did not act with professionalism,” he continued, “and did not understand where they were — a high school campus.”