Matt Sigur @MatthewSigur
2015 could be another good year for Baton Rouge-shot films
It wasn’t a surprise to Baton Rouge Film Commission Executive Director Liza Kelso that the Capital City was named the best small city for moviemakers to live and work by industry publication Moviemaker Magazine.
“We’ve known that all the time,” Kelso says. “We’re a sleeper, a gem that filmmakers find out about and come back to.”
Kelso says 2014 was a great year. The Maze Runner, the adaptation of the young adult novel of the same name directed by Wes Ball, grossed more than $340 million worldwide. The Nicolas Cage reboot of Left Behind and the Christian-themed hit God’s Not Dead were also shot in Baton Rouge.
Kelso says 2015 will be exciting not only to see the city on the silver screen but also the upcoming productions filming here.
We may not have a big blockbuster in town in 2015, but a lot of mid-sized and smaller productions will be shot in the city, says Patrick Mulhearn, the executive director of the local film and production studio Celtic Media Studios.
“Instead of the grand slam that takes over all of our stages, we’re going to hit a bunch of singles and doubles this year,” Mulhearn says. “Television shows are calling us more than they ever have in the past.”
So just what can film buffs and TV addicts look forward to seeing that was shot in Baton Rouge? 225 highlights several upcoming releases, plus projects that are currently in development.
ON THE SILVER SCREEN IN 2015
Bada**es on the Bayou
Starring: Danny Trejo, Danny Glover and John Amos
The buzz: The third in a series featuring Danny Trejo (Machete) as the geriatric action hero Frank Vega. This time around, Vega and company go to Louisiana in an attempt to find a kidnapped friend.
Release date: March 6
Pitch Perfect 2
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow and Hailee Steinfeld
The buzz: Actress Elizabeth Banks is behind the camera as director for the sequel to the hit Pitch Perfect, which came back to Baton Rouge with a $40 million budget and more stars. The trailer has already garnered more than 20 million views on YouTube. In the movie, the Barden Bellas enter an international a cappella group competition that no American team has ever won.
Release date: May 15
Starring: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell and Michael B. Jordan
The buzz: 20th Century Fox tapped director Josh Trank (Chronicle) for the reboot of Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four. The film took over Celtic Media Studios and crews shot around Baton Rouge from the end of 2013 to September 2014. If last year’s one-two punch of X-Men: Days of Future Past andGuardians of the Galaxy are any indication, Fantastic Fourcould be the summer movie.
Release date: Aug. 7
Starring: Maria Bello, Frank Grillo and Cody Horn
The buzz: A new horror film from the Weinstein brothers and James Wan (Saw), Demonic is about a police officer and psychologist investigating the deaths of five people who were killed trying to summon ghosts.
Release date: TBD
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Richard Dreyfuss, Lena Headey and Ray Winstone
The buzz: This political thriller that recently showed at the Sundance Film Festival. Zipper focuses on Sam Ellis, a federal prosecutor who risks losing his family as he struggles to resist the temptations of other women. Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Noah) produced.
Release date: TBD
The Magnificent Seven. Antoine Fuqua’s remake of the popular western is set to star Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt and is rumored to be filming in Baton Rouge.
Scream. This MTV horror show is based on the popular movie series by Wes Craven and will debut in July.
Underground. A new drama from WGN about the Underground Railroad is executive produced by Akiva Goldsman, who wrote A Beautiful Mind. A release date has not been set, but the network is eyeing a series order if all goes well.
Hap and Leonard. Production has begun on a six-episode series based on Joe Lansdale’s book series, which will air on Sundance TV in 2016. Jim Mickle and Nick Damici, who previously worked together on the 2014 thriller Cold in July, are working on this show.