The Perils of Filming in Mexico

Industry News

Reprinted from Deadline Hollywood by David Robb on December 23, 2016.

There were three days left of filming Dead Trigger down in Mexico in May when panic swept through the set of the indie zombie movie. A heated argument had broken out among the local drivers – some of whom hadn’t been paid – and rumors began swirling that a cartel had been called in to settle the dispute. Several members of the American crew say they heard one of the drivers say, “You’ll see how it is in Mexico if you don’t think it’s dangerous here” – or words to that effect.

Nobody actually heard any of the drivers say the word “cartel” – which sounds the same in both English and Spanish – but like a Spanish-language version of the telephone game, where words and phrases change the more they’re passed along, word spread quickly that the cartel was coming and that the Americans should get out of town. And fast.

Before long, members of the cast and crew literally took off running from the set. It was a chaotic scene, fueled by rumor and an overheard threat, that illustrates the perils, either real or perceived, of filming in Mexico — and not paying your drivers. …

Deadline Hollywood 12/23

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Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at

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