Movie transforms Natchez storefront landscape

Published 12:19 am Thursday, June 20, 2019


NATCHEZ — The face of Natchez storefronts are undergoing temporary changes as filmmakers work to create, “Breaking News in Yuba County,” a movie which releases in 2020 directed by Tate Taylor and starring Allison Janney, Juliette Lewis and Mila Kunis, among others.

Production crews stood outside of Home Bank at Main and Commerce streets Wednesday letting pedestrians walk past the bank between takes.

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The appearance of the entrance to the bank facing Main Street changed.

The letters on the building were removed and replaced by the movie bank’s fictional name, “Stanlow Community Bank,” and new decals and signs were added to the doors and signs on the building.

Gwen Massey, owner of Soiree Boutique, said she could see the scene unfold across the street, and today the front of her clothing store would be turned into a flower shop on the outside while she stays open for business.

“It’s been kind of fun to watch all of this activity going on,” Massey said. “They did a lot of filming here for ‘Get on Up,’ but on a personal level, I didn’t get to watch as much of it. Now they’re here, at the Natchez Mall and out at Trinity School. We just have a little more access and can actually see what is going on than we did then.”

Movie crews started filming ‘Breaking News in Yuba County’ on June 1 at the Cash Savers grocery store and have since been spotted in numerous locations throughout the city.

New signs were posted above and inside the former Zales in the Natchez Mall Tuesday to create “Weston Jewelers” as customers walked by sheets of plywood covering the front entrance doors of the mall, where producer John Norris said a jewelry heist would be staged.

Norris said filmmakers would pretend to crash a vehicle through the mall’s main entrance and would make the scene more dramatic using Hollywood magic.

Kathy White, who lives on Commerce Street, said she and her husband John could hear noises right outside of their home and watched one morning as production trucks hauled food for cast members.

“They had big barbeque pits and ice machines,” White said, “right outside my front door.”

Sections of Commerce Street and Main Street are expected to temporarily close at certain times through 11 p.m. today as vehicle traffic and pedestrians may be stopped intermittently while the camera is rolling, said the film’s location manager, David Rumble.

Massey said the disruption in daily routines is a blessing rather than an inconvenience.

“It is amazing that they’re filming here,” she said. “Natchez needs this.”