You might think Hollywood or NYC are the only prime filming locations in the US, but many Southern cities have become prime location for major movies.
Growing up in small-town Mississippi in the 60’s and 70’s, not much excitement found its way to the quiet crossroads of the state. That changed (for a while anyway) when in 1969, William Faulkner’s book, The Reivers, was being made into a movie in Carrollton, Mississippi, right down the road from my hometown of Winona. At 10 years old, I vividly remember begging my parents to check me out of school so that I could watch the filming and hopefully see some stars. Steve McQueen was the star of the movie and the coolest heart-throb of the day. Mitch Vogel was the younger generation’s Tiger Beat heart throb. The excitement of Hollywood coming to Carroll County was palatable. Main Street Carrollton was abuzz with carpenters, architects, decorators, and painters until the facelift was complete and ready for Hollywood to invade. The local antebellum homes were also twirled up with new paint and gardens.
These days more and more movies are being made in the South and we’re happy to have the business. Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars have made their way South to film their blockbuster hits. There's Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Oprah Wynfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts, Dustin Hoffman, Jim Carrey, Jennifer Lawrence, Sally Field, Richard Gere, Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Denzel Washington, Matthew McConaughey, Steve Carell, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, Burt Reynolds, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman, George Clooney, Sandra Bullock, Dame Maggie Smith, Ben Affleck, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bradley Cooper, Rob Lowe, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Anniston, Drew Barrymore, Jake Gyllenhaal, Bruce Willis, Adam Sandler, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and Samuel L. Jackson. Just to name a few.
This group of A-Listers got to experience what we know and love about the South. Some of the movies they made were:
Deliverance, made in 1971, was filmed in parts of Georgia and South Carolina. This film was nominated for three Academy Awards and five Golden Globes. The song, Dueling Banjos, won a Grammy that year as well.
1979 Oscar winning film, Norma Rae, was filmed in and around Auburn and Opelika, Alabama.
This often quoted 1980 cult classic, Caddyshack, was filmed at several Florida golf courses.
Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, The Color Purple from 1985 was filmed in several North Carolina locations.
Winner of 4 Oscars and two Golden Globes, portions of Rain Man from 1988 were filmed in Oklahoma and Kentucky.
Author, John Grisham, filmed his Academy Award Nominated movies, The Firm (1993) and The Client (1994), in their respective literary settings. The Firm was filmed in Memphis and The Client was filmed in Mississippi.
Die Hard: With a Vengeance, from 1995, was filmed in South Carolina.
Nominated for 2 Academy Awards, Twister (1996) was filmed in several locations around Oklahoma. Wakita, OK has a Twister Museum which holds the original "Dorothy I" movie prop.
Director Garry Marshall filmed his hit comedy, Runaway Bride, from 1999, in Maryland.
Nominated for 2 Oscars and winner of a Golden Globe, the classic comedy O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) was shot in several Mississippi locations.
Miss Congeniality, made in 2000, was filmed in several Texas locations.
The Rom-Com, Failure to Launch (2002), was filmed in Maryland and Alabama.
The 2002 cult classic, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, was filmed in North Carolina.
2002 box office hit, Sweet Home Alabama, was actually filmed in Georgia. However, one scene was filmed in Eufala, AL.
This classic comedy, Wedding Crashers 2005, was shot in DC and the Eastern Shore including the Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michael’s, MD.
Evan Almighty, from 2007, was filmed in Virginia.
Academy Award winning, The Blindside (2009) was filmed in and around Atlanta, GA.
Steven Spielberg’s 2012 Oscar winning hit, Lincoln, was filmed in several locations around Virginia.
The first of The Hunger Games trilogy (2012) was filmed in several North Carolina locations as well as Metro Atlanta, GA.
Critically acclaimed, Mud (2012) was based and filmed in Arkansas. Half of the cast and crew and over 400 extras were Arkansas residents.
2013’s hilarious comedy, The Internship, was shot on the campus of Georgia Tech and many other places in the Atlanta area.
Gone Girl (2014) was mostly filmed in Cape Girardeau, MO.