Silver screen returns to Natchez with Bonnie and Clyde movie

Published 11:30 pm Tuesday, March 31, 2009

NATCHEZ — Close your windows and bolt your doors, Bonnie and Clyde are headed to town.

The movie “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde” is slated to film for 15 days in Natchez toward the end of May, city officials said.

Natchez Convention and Visitors Bureau Media Liaison Sally Durkin said she has been in discussion with the producer since April 2007.

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She said the producer was initially interested in Dunleith to use as the Texas governors’ home.

From that, Durkin said other locations were deemed suitable.

“They more we looked around, the more they saw that Natchez was a place where they could shoot a large majority of the film,” she said.

Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis said she took the film officials on a city tour to help them scout out filming locations.

“A lot of it is going to be shot in my ward,” she said of Ward 1.

Mathis said she was also helping to identify areas in town that could be used to house filming equipment and other large props.

Durkin said one of the filming company’s needs while in town is a place to store the antique cars to be used in the film.

Because the time period is in the 1930s during the Great Depression, Durkin said Dunleith was the only historic, grandeur filming location for which the production company was looking.

“We looked at some commercial buildings on the north end of town on (Martin Luther King Jr. Street,)” she said. “They are commercial buildings that no longer have a business operating that could be easily used and dressed for the period.”

Although the exact dollar amount of economic impact has not been discussed, Mayor Jake Middleton said it should be significant.

“I think it would be a tremendous economic impact,” he said. “Of course you surely hope they’d do business with the local businesses as far as their needs — lumber, hardware to build their sets — staying overnight, eating in our restaurants.”

Also, Middleton said the producer told him that some locals could be used for speaking and non-speaking parts in the film.

He also said film-site construction jobs may be available, as well.

Durkin said Natchez was a film destination in the 70s and 80s, and the CVB is working toward drawing more films in.

“We would like to get back into it, because it does bring a tremendous economic impact,” she said.

Hilary Duff has been cast as Bonnie Parker and Kevin Zegers has been cast as Clyde Barrow in “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde.”

The production company is Cypress Moon Productions, of Sheffield, Ala.