Once upon a time, way back at the start of the 20th century, Jacksonville was a premier destination for filmmakers.
Those days are long, long gone, but the city still enjoys a modest presence in the film industry. It’s hosted production for big-name Hollywood movies such as The Manchurian Candidate and G.I. Jane.
It’s also been home to the production of several made-for-television movies – one of which even starred two actors that would go on to be featured in one of the biggest television franchises of the past thirty years.
Gold Coast, produced by Paramount Pictures in 1997 for the Showtime network, was set in Ft. Lauderdale, FL – but it featured quite a few scenes that were shot in Jacksonville. Scenes were filmed at downtown’s Police Memorial Building, the Jacksonville Golf & Country Club, and at a residence along the St. Johns River in the San Jose neighborhood, among a few other Jax locations. A few scenes were also filmed at Marineland in southern St. Johns County.
The movie was based on a novel by Elmore Leonard. It revolves around the widow of a Florida mob boss, who is left all of her husband’s royalties on the condition that she doesn’t get romantically involved with anyone else. Sure enough, she gets involved with a man, and together they plot to keep both her money and her freedom.
It was directed by Peter Weller, who is perhaps best known for playing the titular role in RoboCop. It starred David Caruso and Marg Helgenberger, with Caruso playing the love interest for Helgenberger’s character.
Of course, both actors would go on to star in the successful CSI: Crime Scene Investigation franchise just a few years later. Helgenberger was cast for in 2000 as CSI’s Catherine Willows, a role she’d play for twelve seasons. And in 2002, Caruso launched a major career revival when he was cast as the lead in the spinoff CSI: Miami. He played Horatio Caine for all ten seasons of the show.
The full 109-minute film is difficult to come across through legal methods nowadays, although bootleg copies exist on YouTube and other video websites. You can watch the trailer for the movie below.