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