Movie crews tour Natchez for possible film site

Published 11:27 am Thursday, May 31, 2007

Years ago, moviemakers flocked to Natchez and surrounding areas to film.

The town may be headed back in that direction, and will be, if city media liaison Sally Durkin has anything to say about it.

A group of nine people toured the Miss-Lou this week, scouting locations for an upcoming movie, “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde.”

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The large-budget independent film will require 70 locations, writer, director and producer Tonya S. Holly said.

One reason the Sheffield, Ala., based crew is looking at Mississippi is because of the recently passed legislation providing incentives for those who film in the state.

“We were scouting in Louisiana, and when Mississippi passed the new incentives, we thought we’d check out what places were in Mississippi,” Holly said.

The crew visited such varied locations as J.M. Jones Lumber yard and the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.

Wednesday, they visited the old county jail, now the county supervisors building.

“They thought the city bank building might possibly work for one of the robberies,” Durkin said. “And there are quite a few neighborhoods around town they’re interested in.”

Finding just the right location can be tricky, Production Designer Larry Ricci said Wednesday. The architecture and time period a place evokes has a lot to do with whether it’s the right fit.

“(You need) a location that fits the detailed description in the script,” Ricci said.

The film crew, who dropped in Sunday and are leaving today, is only one of several groups scouting the Miss-Lou for filming locations, Durkin said.

“I have another production company coming in Friday,” Durkin said. “I don’t mind not having a weekend off in two weeks. This is a good thing. Not only does filming have an economic benefit, it’s the start of something really great that has come as a result of that legislation.”

And this week’s scouts had nothing but good things to say, Durkin said.

“So far, they are thrilled with what they’ve seen,” she said. “Not just happy — thrilled.”

And with more film location scouts poking around Natchez, Durkin, too, couldn’t be happier.

“But my dad always told me, be careful what you wish for,” she said.

Because Natchez may just get it.