In recent years, many movie and TV productions have set up outside of California in fair climate Southern states. But where exactly is the Hollywood of the South?
"The Hunger Games" movie opened over the weekend, earning $153 million at the box office and setting an opening record for Lions Gate. Movie goers, and especially those who read Suzanne Collins' 2008 novel, thought they were watching the fictional world of Panem, but what they were really seeing was scenery from the western part of North Carolina.
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
We got a call earlier today about an independent film titled "The Governor's Daughters" filming in Columbus, Mississippi, this weekend. A fictional account of a robbery that takes place in an Atlanta nightclub, the film's plot also includes the kidnapping of the governor of Georgia's two daughters and a trial scene, to be filmed at Lowndes County Courthouse (pictured). Atlanta writer/producer/director Lawyer Henderson and Cinema City Productions secured two bigger names for the project. Donna Biscoe, who appeared in TV series "In the Heat of the Night" in the early '90s and more recently Tyler Perry's "Daddy's Little Girls," as the coroner in horror flick "One Missed Call" and an episode of "One Tree Hill," co-stars with Glenn Plummer, a veteran Hollywood actor who's appeared in an episode of "Dexter," 15 episodes of "ER" as Timmy Rawlins and films "Saw 2" and "Speed" I and II. Columbus actor/producer Aial Jones will be playing the part of Judge George E. Morris and presiding over the trial. Filming begins around 1 p.m. Saturday at the courthouse and continues Sunday with a classroom scene at Columbus High School. About 25 locals already have roles in the film, but more extras are needed this weekend.
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