This Is Where Fake Movie Money Comes From

From afar the cash might look real, but a closer look gives it away.

By Chase Hill / February 28, 2019 5:00 am

Tucked away in the “Hollywood of the South,” Rich “RJ” Rappaport’s Atlanta-based props studio is making hundreds of thousand worth of money and it’s all fake.

The founder of RJR Props, a movie prop company based in Atlanta, creates big fake bucks for films like The Wolf of Wall Street and The Fast and the Furious, and for music video too, for artists like 50 cent and Kendrick Lamar.

Rappaport stays in constant contact with the Federal government which most other prop companies don’t take the time to do. “I wanted clarity about laws and regulations,” he said. “Most other companies that make prop money are actually producing illegal prop money, and that can get a show shut down and someone fined and jailed.”

The Counterfeit Detection Act of 1992 outlines how fake money should be, legally, produced which includes making the currency bigger or smaller than the real thing and only printed on one side of the paper.

In 2001 the Secret Service ordered Studio Services Inc. to stop making the fake money after $1B worth of faux funds were used during an explosion being filmed in Las Vegas for the film Rush Hour. Some of the 1 billion bills ended up in circulation.

Rappaport says his trick is making the money look real on camera but fake in someone’s hand.

“Our standard grade prop money is printed on both sides, but has an optical illusion built into it,” he explained to CNN. “It looks realistic at an arm’s length, but when you start bringing it closer, it actually changes over and it reveals itself as fake.”

The prop company also creates new art from scratch for the bills and substitutes their own phrases like “Treasurer of the Treasurer” instead of “Treasurer of the United States.”

RJR Props isn’t only home to a bank of fake bills. they also have about 30,000 different props for movie use like the space capsule most recently used for the film Hidden Figures.

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