Monday, January 23, 2012

Hooray for Gretnawood!

"Father Hollywood" as a name for this blog began as a joke (I was working at Hollywood Video during my first call).  But it seems like life imitates humor.

New Orleans is sometimes known as "Hollywood South" since Louisiana offers tax breaks for movie-making, and so a lot of films get made here.  And here is a pretty current list of projects.  For some reason, Gretna - and more specifically, my neighborhood - always seems to be involved in filming, whether for commercials or movies.

The Paperboy was filmed at a local house just off 5th Street.  It has not yet been released.  Deja Vu was filmed in 2006 and features a good bit of New Orleans, as the story takes place on our side of the river at the Algiers Ferry Station.  Love Song for Bobby Long (2004) was filmed at a local Gretna house just off the levee bike trail.  We're also still waiting for Killer Joe to be released, some of which was filmed at our local restaurant, Common Grounds - including some of our waitress friends playing waitresses in the movie.  This still from the movie was taken inside the restaurant, and this one looks across the neutral ground to the po-boy shop ("The Iron Grate Grill" on Huey P. Long Ave. formerly "Johnny's") across the way.

Right now, filming is happening for a Will Ferrell movie called Dog Fight (aka Southern Rivals) - a comedy based on Southern politicians during an election cycle.  The movie is apparently set in South Carolina, though downtown Gretna has been made over into the fictional town of Hammond, North Carolina.

A vacant lot has been mocked up with building facades, while fake building fronts were placed on real buildings across the street.  Gretna City Hall had a new facade put on it, and even the glass door had gold lettering with the new "town" embossed on it.  We took a couple strolls around the set and took some pictures.  There was a good attention to detail.  Some of the extras who were driving around explained that they received North Carolina license plates and even stickers to cover up their Louisiana inspections on the windshields!

In the casting call for extras, it seems that the movie will be rather politically incorrect.  It looks like fun!  Filming should be going on for another week or so.  I have no doubt that more will be on the way.

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