More than 70% of this film was shot in Louisiana. The story of a team of mercenaries who journey to South America to topple a dictator, it is set for a 2010 release and stars action-genre heavies Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and Jet Li.
Pic’s South American setting didn’t prove difficult to replicate in Louisiana. It was just another locale that the state was able to match.
“They call New Orleans and Louisiana the northern part of the Caribbean, so the backdrop really worked for what we wanted,” says Diego Martinez, president of Studio Operations, a unit of Nu Image/Millennium Films, the company behind this war thriller. “Outside of the French Quarter you’ll find a lot of different things. Louisiana isn’t just the cliches many people think about.”
Martinez also found Louisiana crews and infrastructure to be a huge advantage.
“I think this is our 13th film in the state,” he says. “The cooperation you get here is always incredible, and the Louisiana Film Office is really there for you. The incentives don’t hurt either.”
Locations: Jefferson Parish, New Orleans
Facilities used: Louisiana Film Studios
Louisiana-based support: Ragtime Rentals, Film Fleet of Louisiana
Other Louisiana vendors: Markell Lumber, Multimedia Risk Insurance
Location manager: Ed Lipscomb
Filmed in New Orleans, this Playhouse Disney series is dedicated to making music for preschoolers that’s both fun and hip. It features Rich Collins, Scott Durbin, Dave Poche and Scott “Smitty” Smith.
“The guys in ‘Imagination Movers’ are all from that area, and they were very affected by Katrina, so we thought it made sense to give back to New Orleans,” says executive producer Skot Bright. “The people there have been very appreciative that we do 26 episodes a season there, and we’re crewed almost entirely by local people.”
The show — which entered its second season Sept. 5 — was also produced in Louisiana because of the tax advantages offered by the state.
The incentives were a “big part of going down there,” says Bright. “The state really stepped up and made it even more attractive.”
Location: Harahan (suburb of New Orleans)
Facilities used: Nims Center/U. of New Orleans
Louisiana-based support: Local Panavision, local Cinelease
Location manager: Roger Benischek, manager of Nims Center
For this story set in the Old West, location manager Elston Howard found just the right look two hours outside New Orleans.
“There’s different terrain than most people expect once you get outside the cities,” says Howard. “We got that rolling-hills, Midwestern look in St. Francisville.”
Megan Fox, Josh Brolin, Michael Fassbender and John Malkovich star in the film, which follows a plot to use voodoo to revive an army of the undead to liberate the South. The movie is skedded for a summer 2010 release.
Howard has worked in Louisiana as a location manager for nearly two decades and watched the film industry and infrastructure grow.
“When the state stepped up with an aggressive incentives program, it really changed things for us,” he says. “Production is great — just insanely busy now. It’s one business that’s exceeded its pre-Katrina numbers, and we’re thankful for that.”
Locations: New Orleans, St. Francisville
Louisiana-based support: Nightworks (camera rental), Hellfire Rigging (rigging grip), That’s a Wrap (makeup)
Other Louisiana vendors: Heirloom Cuisine, Location Gourmet, Big Easy Flowers
Location manager: Elston Howard