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‘Crash’ Landing

Haggis hits NYC. City makes great faux city.

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Paul Haggis bagged three Oscar nominations last week for directing, producing, and co-writing Crash; his next project, an NBC series called The Black Donnellys, will be filmed in Manhattan. Should New Yorkers prepare for a Crash-style critique of the city’s Big Unresolved Issues? Nah. The Donnellys pilot script is heavy on archetypes, light on rumination: An unreliable narrator (“Joey Ice Cream”) recounts the criminal adventures of four Irish brothers from “The Neighborhood,” an enclave of such well-trod NYC signifiers as hot-dog carts, bodegas, and an El train. West Coaster Haggis (pictured) says such a portrayal is the result of creativity, not unfamiliarity: “We’re creating a fictional city using elements of things that happened in the seventies and eighties. It’s not literal.” Haggis says he’s delighted to film in New York, but what does he say to Law & Order–weary residents? “They should be thanking Dick Wolf! Law & Order has brought a great deal of money to Manhattan,” he says. “We can always go to Baltimore or Philly—someplace that wants those millions of dollars.”


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