A native of New Orleans, Bryan Batt landed the role of Art Director Salvatore Romano on AMC’s "Mad Men" in 2007. He moved from New Orleans to New York right out of college to be an actor and starred on Broadway and off, more recently guest starring on "Law and Order" and "Ugly Betty." Batt made it through three seasons of "Mad Men" before his character was fired for rejecting the sexual advances of Lee Garner Jr., son of a Lucky Strike exec, a huge client for the agency. Now, Batt spends his days traveling between New York, New Orleans and Los Angeles. While in New Orleans, he can usually be found at his Magazine Street home décor shop, Hazelnut. Batt recently talked to us about "Mad Men," his favorite cocktail and why he loves living in the South.
While "The Help" didn't take home best picture at the Academy Awards last night, and Viola Davis's best actress award went instead to Meryl Streep, it was still a great night for the South. Octavia Spencer was recognized as best supporting actress for "The Help," thanking her family and home state of Alabama, Mississippi got plenty of nods, and a little film made in Louisiana won best animated short.
With the national popularity of films like The Help and television shows Treme and True Blood, it’s not surprising that Hollywood is going Southern in 2012. Boasting stories of war and competition, alternate history and adaptation of some of the greatest works of Southern literature, 2012 looks to be a banner year for the South on screen.
Starting with Dolly Parton, who's starring in Joyful Noise opening today, intern Kati-Jane Hammet has compiled a list of the Southern-themed films and television shows coming out or in the works this year. So, set up your film-going calendar for January through December, which concludes with a huge Southern literary blockbuster on Christmas Day.
by Kati-Jane Hammet
Last fall, Kickstarter featured a project with the goal of raising money for a movie about pimento cheese. Seventy-four backers, including Deep South, and $2,625 later, "Pimento Cheese, Please: A Film About the South's Beloved Spread" met its goal and was deemed "funding successful." Since then, Richmond, Virginia, filmmakers Nicole Lang and Christophile Konstas have been traveling the South in search of great pimento cheese spread and getting their film ready for an October release. Former intern Sarah Matalone interviewed Nicole about her idea for the film and obvious love of the South's favorite cheese dish.
10 films that dive into the beauty and terror of Southern life.
By Jake Cole
"Gone With the Wind" may be the film that dominates the conversation when it comes to the South, but it's hardly the only great movie about the region. The South may not grace the screen regularly enough, or at least not as something more than a cultural punching bag, but there are movies that capture both its reality and cultural spirit. From a silent masterpiece to modern works of poetry and progressiveness, these 10 films should be on every Southerners' to-watch list.
The General (Buster Keaton, 1926)
The Civil War was at the heart of American cinematic innovation in the medium's first few decades, from D.W. Griffith's medium-changing "The Birth of a Nation" to a little film about a woman named Scarlett. The conflict even made for seminal comedy, as seen in this movie Orson Welles called "the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made." Keaton's rebel engineer moves through a world as realistic as the still photographs to come from the conflict — and as absurd as anything the great clown could come up with. Epic in
by Erin Z. Bass
A few weeks ago, I heard Travel Channel star and chef Anthony Bourdain was going to be in Lafayette filming for his show, "No Reservations." I didn't know exactly when he'd be here, but figured the local rumor mill would start to churn once he arrived. On Friday afternoon, a few people tweeted they'd seen him at Tsunami Sushi downtown. It didn't take long for y'all to wonder why Anthony Bourdain was eating sushi instead of a poboy or bowl of gumbo, and he actually replied to a few tweets saying he'd only had a beer. To further clarify, he and his crew were staying in the lofts above the restaurant, and Tsunami does serve a crawfish roll.
There was no need to worry though. On Bourdain's agenda for Saturday was an all-day boucherie at Lakeview Park in Eunice that included the 6 a.m. butchering of a pig. For those of you not from South Louisiana, a boucherie is an old tradition of making use of all parts of a pig before there were freezers and refrigerators. In communities like Eunice and Mamou, west of Lafayette, neighbors got together and spent the day killing and cleaning the hog,
Southerners and fans of Kathryn Stockett's bestseller "The Help" received exciting news last night when the trailer for the movie version of the book was released. While movie details have sort of been kept hush hush, a release date is scheduled for August 12, and excitement seems to be building. We'll keep y'all updated as more details are released and premiers planned across the South. And in case you missed it a while back, we do have a story about the movie filming in Jackson with lots of photos!
Mississippi’s capital city prepares for its moment on the big screen with “The Help” filming in town last week.
by Erin Z. Bass
People were talking when native Kathryn Stockett published her bestselling book about white women and their black maids in 1960s Jackson last year, and now the town is abuzz again over filming of the movie version. Producers, including locals Tate Taylor and Brunson Green, came to town last December to scout for locations, but news was kept under wraps until townspeople began to notice changes in the city’s Fondren district last week.
“We all knew they were going to film sometime soon,” says Chris Myers, who lives in Fondren and works on North State Street as an architect. “It wasn’t until they started painting the yoga studio, turned into a gas station, that I got really interested.” Myers could view the progress down the street from the breakroom of his office building and began chronicling Fondren’s transformation to a scene from another era (not that big of a stretch as the row of businesses down State Street, called the Fondren Strip, sport neon and a generally retro look anyway).
“They started with the gas station and slowly started working down the
by Erin Z. Bass
With the finale of Season 3 of "True Blood" airing on HBO tomorrow night, I thought I'd do a short post about why the show has become such a hit with Southerners and viewers around the country. I watched my first episode in October of last year after downloading it from iTunes to find out what all the fuss was about. At first, I was horrified by the backwoods characters and accents, and the fictional name of the Louisiana town Bon Temps didn't help much either, but by the end of the episode, I was hooked. It was the music, good looks of vampire Bill and something about the character of Sookie that did it. Plus, the show was just fun to watch once you got past the accents and geographical inaccuracies (Shreveport and Monroe are not close to New Orleans or Jackson, Mississippi).
Since then, I still think the theme song "Bad Things" by Texas-raised Jace Everett is one of the best ever, as is the show's Emmy-nominated intro depicting race riots, roadkill and baptism in the bayou.
I also especially enjoyed the episode featuring Lafayette, Louisiana's own CC Adcock playing at Arlene and Rene's engagement party outside
by Erin Z. Bass
Kathryn Stockett's Southern book club favorite The Help will begin filming in Greenwood, Mississippi, this July. Dreamworks announced the news today, and Mississippi's Clarion Ledger reports that the film is also being directed and produced by Mississippi natives. The filming is expected to create numerous jobs and an economic impact in the millions for the state. The Mississippi Motion Picture Incentive program was a major factor in getting The Help made in the state.
Associated Content helps to further explain the Mississippi connections, reporting that Stockett, director Tate Taylor and producing partner Brunson Green all grew up within a mile of each other in Jackson. Taylor wanted to option the film rights to the book before it was even published, hence the short turnaround time. After the book's instant success last year, he took it to director Chris Columbus, who in turn took it to Steven Spielberg at Dreamworks.
If you or your book club hasn't read "The Help," we'll try not to automatically assume you're a Yankee, but you've still got a little time to get over to the public library or town bookstore and pick up a copy before the movie comes out. The book's group of