Shreveport's Big Movie Boom
(Photo courtesy of the Weinstein Company)
Shreveport? Really? Kevin Costner loves Shreveport? Jack Black craves the poboys at Cush's Grocery? Denzel chose here to film a project near and dear to his moviemaking heart. Head's up, Shreveport is making real waves. This former oil man's hub is winning over Hollywood bigtime. One newpaper writer gives us the scoop.
Alexandyr Kent, a Shreveport Times reporter and movie biz blogger, showed me around town a few months back. His expertise is second to none. Costner liked that bar. Jessica Simpson used to hang here. The wave tank Jim Carrey likes, right over there. Saw Michael Cera (Juno and Superbad) cross the street there. Sienna Miller's "apartment" in Factory Girl - that building. The guy really knows it all.
I asked him a few questions today about the town, the movies, and his take on the budding relationship.
TB: What's a Hollywood actor to do with down time when filming in Shreveport?
Simple: Eat. Head down Line Avenue from downtown to find a good sample of independent restaurants. You can go cheap at the Real Pickle sandwich shop. Ritzy, it isn't, but most sandwich names are puns on movie or TV history. Pretty fun, and a pretty good supply of imported bottled beers. On the upper end, head to Bella Fresca, Superior Steakhouse or Bistro 6301. There are many, many others. On Line Avenue, just throw a dart and you'll find some place good.
If it's late-night and you're stuck downtown, head to the Stray Cat bar. It's a pretty cool talent hangout. There's also the new Robinson Film Center, an two-screen art house and restaurant with a balcony view of downtown. Pretty nice.
And please, just ask the locals. Everybody's got their favorites, and that's the best way to find something truly unique.
TB: How's the town changed in the few years of growing in film business?
I'm biased, I think. My job has changed, and it's not uncommon to see movie trucks parked downtown for day shoots. I do get some emails, phone calls and photographs regarding celebrity sightings. But has Shreveport really changed because of the industry? We haven't gone Hollywood, as they say. Though businesses and locals have benefited from the influx of cash, I'd say the town has remained pretty much the same. Citizens seem flattered that the industry is here – and civic boosters go out of their way to help the industry get what they need – but most aren't star struck. By and large, celebrities are treated like most visitors to Shreveport. Locals want them to have a good time, enjoy local culture, feel welcome, and, of course, eat.
TB: In your eyes, what's been the best "Shreveport-in-cognito" movie moment?
I think it's "The Mist," which was shot mostly inside a soundstage but spent a few days on location. There's a shot after the opening storm scene where fog is creeping down from the mountains and over the lake. It's supposed be Maine – the movie is based on a Stephen King story – but the lake is really Cross Lake on the north side of Shreveport. Those mountains? They're not here, of course. They're digital effects. Seeing them made a few audience members hoot during a preview screening.
If you're really game and want to see the supermarket where the horror takes place, drive up to Vivian to see Tom's Market. It's storefront was shot for exteriors, and the store interior was a model for set built inside StageWorks of Louisiana, a soundstage/studio in downtown Shreveport.
(Val Horvath/The Times)
(RALPH NELSON/The Weinstein Company)
If you do take the drive to Vivian – it's about 45 minutes – you'll be safe. I haven't seen a pterodactyl or murderous tentacled arm since "The Mist" left town.
Want to be an extra?
These days, the biggest show in Shreveport is Oliver Stone's George W. Bush biopic, starring Josh Brolin as the President. This is a post taken directly from Alexandyr Kent's blog:
Oliver Stone's "W." needs extras to work now through July 11. The movie stars Josh Brolin. Contact BAM Casting if the following sounds good to you:
- These are paid positions
- Most commitments are one day and last 12 to 14 hours.
Needed looks include:
- clean-cut women and men (shave that scruff, dudes) who look political
- White House aides and assistants
- Military men and women
- Soldiers and sailors
- Professionals such as attorneys, lawyers, police officers
- Applicants of all ages, but mainly ages 25 to 65.
To sign up:
- Drop by BAM Casting's office at StageWorks of Louisiana, 400 Clyde Fant Memorial Parkway, from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday (June 18 through June 20)
- Or download a registration form at www.bamcastingla.com and email it along with head shot and body shot to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.