Let’s go ahead and make it official, industry leaders are falling in love with the Hollywood South. As Forbes
highlighted last week there is a “cultural richness” here that creative people love!
In fact, filmmakers are staying in town to continue the love affair by producing back-to-back features.
Director, Lee Daniels (“Precious”)
with Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman
, and Zac Effron
, and will begin filming his next movie, “The Butler”
in New Orleans.
Daniels has also announced
an Oscar winning cast of actors to include Forest Whitaker
, Oprah Winfrey
, and Jane Fonda
. Oprah Winfrey is heading back to the silver screen for the first time
in over a decade for a leading role in the film! Daniels says he wrote the role of the wife specifically for Oprah, who produced his Oscar-winning “Precious”
. But, "she's not producing this, she's an actor
on this one," he says.
Although Daniels will try to have some fun with Oprah in the Big Easy, he says, "it's a very serious subject. It's such an important story. It's a black version of Forrest Gump. I'm very proud of it."The Butler”
, is a historical drama and true-life story of Eugene Allan, a black man who worked as
a butler under eight presidents from 1952 to 1986.
Daniels himself is an African American pioneer, being the first African American director to win a
Best Picture Oscar for his film, “Precious”. In 2001, he also produced “Monster’s Ball”
, a romantic drama set and filmed in Louisiana starring Halle Berry
who won an Academy Award as Best Actress for
Let’s remain faithful to this affair with Daniels by supporting his pursuit to transfer amazing stories i
nto award winning films!
In turn, we can welcome his high-profile cast to New Orleans!
Hollywood heartthrob, Paul Walker
, is making his way down to New Orleans to begin filming on the new movie, “Hours
”. In this movie, Walker is taking on the emotionally (and physically) demanding role of Nolan, who is riding out Hurricane Katrina with his newborn baby. Nolan’s wife has died in childbirth, and the premature baby is at odds with the elements as the father and child struggle to survive. Paul Walker is the central figure in this film and is in almost every scene, which is filming here in Louisiana this spring. The production team notes that this isn’t just a movie about Hurricane Katrina, but a family story. The writer says that he fell in love the characters and story of this screenplay, and even Walker has been drawing upon his personal life to add depth to his performance. Walker, a father himself made the statement
, “my little girl means the whole world to me. I really want to believe that if I was placed in the same situation that I would rise above, that I would be able to see it through the end and do what it would take to make sure my baby came out on top
.” This latest addition to the Hollywood South is set to hit the Sundance Film Festival
in early 2013, as it plans to wrap in June.
For more on this story, visit the Washington Post
The continuous momentum of the Louisiana Entertainment industry has been a topic of local and national attention for the past 2 years- but now, it has even captured the notice of Forbes
. The famous publication recently released an in-depth analysis
of the success of the Hollywood south. Mentioning some of the more obvious specifics, such as the tax incentives and low cost of living, the article also discussed how the cultural community here in New Orleans is fueling the growth of this industry. Kotkin writes
, “the Big Easy and the state of Louisiana have managed to turn the region’s creative energy into something of an economic driver
”. From artists, musicians, and actors, to special effects gurus and animators, the residents of NOLA provide directors and production teams a wide employee base without having to bring in outside talent. This, in turn, lowers costs and continues to add to the appeal of a LA shot picture.
The culture here, including history, food and architecture, has also attracted a great many celebrity residents. Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Saundra Bullock, Lawrence Fishbourne, Nicholas Cage
and John Goodma
n have all purchased homes here in New Orleans- and frequently host celebrity guests. Many local actors are also making their break into the big time thanks to their proximity to the Hollywood South. Brett Lapeyrouse
performed in locally-filmed “21 Jump Street
” alongside Channing Tatum
and Jonah Hill
, and Madison Wolfe
recently played the daughter of Will Ferrell
in the new comedy “Dog Fight
”. Both Lapeyrouse and Wolfe received training at the John Robert Powers Performing Arts Academy
. Local resources, like JRP
, are also seeing the benefits of this boom in our area’s entertainment industry. The experts are predicting that New Orleans may rival Los Angeles for the number of projects filmed, which would be an enormous spotlight on Louisiana. This is exciting news for everyone here in Louisiana, not to mention everyone at Southern Celebrity Gossip.
For the full article, please visit Forbes
New Sci-Fi flick “Ender’s Game
” is all the talk in both Hollywood and Hollywood South. This movie, featuring Hugo’s Asa Butterfield
, has been filming in and around New Orleans for the past month and seeks to recreate the epic adventures of the book on which it is based. In order to do so, the production team had to reach for the stars- literally. In order to realistically portray the grand scale of the setting, the cast and crew of “Ender’s Game
” have been making use of the NASA
sound stage. This area was previously used to build the actual space shuttles! The production team is keeping a pretty tight lid on what exactly this new picture requires such large set for, but it has everyone eagerly anticipating the film’s release. As if the setting and special effects weren’t enough, this new movie has recruited a long list of celebrated actors that shining an extra spotlight on New Orleans. In addition to Butterfield, the film has also cast Sir Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford,
and Viola Davis
. So until the movie’s 2013 release, we’ll all just have to settle with spotting this fantastic cast around the Bayou.
For more on this story, visit MTV.com.
As the momentum for Hollywood South continues to grow, celebrity sightings are becoming more common in New Orleans than Mardi Gras beads. Just this past week, Sylvester Stallone
at Whole Foods, and singer Pink
was seen having drinks at the Hotel Monteleone. Combine that with numerous Leonardo DiCaprio
encounters, and more then one spotting of the Jolie-Pitts
and it’s hard to argue with the growing popularity of the Crescent City. But has this flood of Hollywood A-List caused NOLA locals to become a little jaded? Recently NOLA.com
reported that both Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger
were in the French Quarter filming their new action flick. The article made a point to mention that many of the passers-by were entirely unimpressed by the cameos! It writes, “The star’s presence didn’t cause the pandemonium it might have caused in other, less jaded locales, and the Bourbon Street scene whirled on, with the Quarter’s characters acting out their own dramas
.” While many did stop for the photo opportunity, the outcome was far from expected. This has your Southern Celebrity Gossiper wondering- have celebrities become so commonplace here that they go almost unnoticed? And is this a good or a bad thing? For those of us professionally involved in the entertainment industry, it is a VERY good thing. The more comfortable celebs feel here in our city, the more likely they’ll stay- and the more productive filming is (without gaggles of fans wanting autographs) the more likely it is that NOLA will stay the Hollywood of the South. And as for the buzz on what celebrities are working on here in New Orleans, you can always trust in SCG to give you the latest… from a respectful distance.
An in depth interview with heartthrob,Zac Efron
was just released by the Examine
r’s Angela Dawson
. In this article, the actor opens up about the physically and emotionally demanding character he plays in new movie “Lucky
”. This film is based off of the Nicholas Sparks
's novel, and was filmed in the Hollywood south. This Warner Brothers production required Zac to gain 20 pounds of muscle in order to accurately depict the Marine, Logan who walks to Louisiana to find his soul-mate. Efron doesn’t hold back about his reservations for taking on the role initially, nor does he underscore his love for NOLA. He says that “New Orleans is the most fun city in the world
”, and here at Southern Celebrity Gossip we are inclined to agree!
For the full interview, visit the Examiner
The Annual French Quarter Fest
is begins this evening and will continue throughout the weekend. The Festival kicks off with a live performance by the Rebirth Brass Band
, who recently earned themselves a Grammy Award. Now, Rebirth isn’t the only musical sensation hitting the streets. Over the next few days performers such as, Cyril Neville and the Royal Southern Brotherhood, Amanda Shaw and Troy “Trombone Shorty”, Deacon John, Jeremy Davenport, and Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
will be hosting live concerts throughout the historic quarter.
This festival is free of charge and features affordable sample-sized portions of food from the area’s restaurants. Attendees of the fest are most excited for the NOLA restaurant’s
stuffed chicken wings, Royal House
’s charbroiled oysters, and also Antoine
’s famed baked Alaska with chocolate sauce! It all sounds good to this Southern Celebrity Gossiper, and it sounds like a great opportunity for some celeb sightings! With named actors such as Tom Cruise, Leo DiCaprio,
and now Denzel Washington
all in town for filming- hopefully, we’ll catch a glimpse of some of them sampling those oysters!
From everyone at Southern Celebrity Gossip, we’re wishing you a fun and safe weekend- and we hope you enjoy the fest!Check out the line-up!
The 1989 film, “Steel Magnolias
” depicts a group of women living through love and loss in the great state of Louisiana. The original movie cast a remarkable catalog of actresses including Sally Field
, Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton, Daryl Hannah, Shirley MacLaine
, and Olympia Dukakis
. However, when the Lifetime Network
had the opportunity to make a modern version of this iconic film, they jumped at the chance! The new version
, which should premiere this year will feature an all African-American cast of equally fabulous talent. Actress and singer, Queen Latifah
will take on the role of “M’Lynn”, with Alfre Woodard
as “Ouiser”, Phylicia Rashad
as “Clairee”, Grammy winner Jill Scott
will be in the part of “Truvy”, Adepero Oduye
will play “Annelle” and Condola Rashad
will take on Roberts’ part of “Shelby”. Sources are not certain if the film will still be set in Louisiana, but they are confident that it will shoot in Atlanta, GA.
Taking on the task of remaking such a famous, and favored film, poses many challenges. But the production staff for this film is equally as talented as the new cast. Sony Pictures Television
will produce the new “Steel Magnolias
”, and the movie will be executively produced by Craig Zadan
and Neil Meron
), as well as actress Latifah. The three have worked together before on several projects and are hopeful to sustain their creative chemistry. Kenny Leon
of "A Raisin in the Sun
" will be consulting on the script as it is adapted for television.
This incredible talent and exciting new project has audiences and industry experts all anxious for its’ release. Helen Verno,
Vice President of Movies and Miniseries at Sony Pictures Television even said
that it is “an honor… to be revisiting the classic Sony film Steel Magnolias under the creative auspices of our producing partners…acclaimed director…and team of brilliant actor
For more on this story, visit CNN Entertainment
Celebrity super-couple, Katie Holmes
and Tom Cruise
were spotted sight-seeing around Louisiana! Cruise, who is here filming new movie "Oblivion
" took a break to spend time with Katie, daughter Suri
, and son Connor
this past week. They enjoyed tours in Baton Rouge, a ride on the streetcar, and some shopping at J.Crew- all while dodging the many cameras! For more pics of this famous family, visit POPSUGAR
The last weekend in April and first weekend in May marks the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festiva
l. This year’s impressive line-up (which is available on their official site
) includes the one and only Bonnie Raitt
. Raitt rose to fame in the late 1970’s and remained there with hits like “Nick of Time
” and “Something to Talk About”
. Over the course of her career, this soulful American-blues singer has released more than a dozen albums
. Her last album, in 2005, however marked the start of a 7 year hiatus from recording. Raitt enjoyed time off as an audience to the musical community. But, Southern Celebrity Gossip is happy to report that Bonnie is BACK with a brand new album to accompany her appearance at this year’s Jazz Fest. The new album, “Slipstream
” features the soon-to-be hit single “Right Down the Line
”. You can watch the video of this song on youtube
. Everyone is excited for the singer’s show at Jazz Fest, and for her re-entry into writing and performing. Raitt is quoted
saying, “you can be off only so long when you have this in your blood."
For more on this story, visit NOLA.com