It looks like Hollywood is starstruck with MUSC.
The president of the Medical University of South Carolina wants the state to chip in $2.5 million to entice producers to shoot a movie at the hospital, this one starring Val Kilmer. It would be the third film shot at the medical university in as many years.
The money is available through an S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism fund dedicated to luring film production crews to the Palmetto State. About $15 million is available this fiscal year.
MUSC President Ray Greenberg wrote letters to a handful of state legislators requesting their support for the movie -- "Finding Contessa" -- that would be shot at MUSC's Storm Eye Institute, a facility where eye research and surgeries are performed.
"This would be a wonderful way to give international visibility to the leading-edge care provided here," Greenberg wrote in the Aug. 30 letter.
Chad Prosser, director of the state parks department, said the state likely would make an offer to the Hollywood crew once they receive a formal application requesting funding.
"We're excited to work with anyone who has a viable project to bring to the state," he said.
The offer from Prosser's agency would contend with an existing one made by North Carolina, Greenberg wrote in his letter.
Prosser said his staff has been in "serious talks" with producers of the film for the past two months.
Officials declined to reveal details about the movie, which, according to Greenberg's letter, is to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival.
Beyond MUSC, parts of Conway also would be featured in the film, Greenberg wrote. "Horry County sources" already have committed $7.5 million, he wrote. It is unclear specifically what those sources are.
Filming big-budget movies in South Carolina can be a boon to state economies as crews stay at area hotels and dine at local restaurants, officials said.
Several movies, including "Dear John" and the not-yet-released "Little Red Wagon" have been filmed at MUSC in the past three years, hospital spokeswoman Heather Woolwine said.
State incentives recently have been used to help cover the production costs of those movies and of Lifetime's television series "Army Wives," which is filmed in Charleston, Prosser said.
Films must be finished and their financial records audited before state money changes hands, he said.
Reach Renee Dudley at email@example.com or 937-5550.