Our Careers in the Movie Location Business
Archives | 06/29/2011
Early one Thursday in May, I was getting ready to go to Atlanta for business related to the Troup County Archives and Legacy Museum when I received an email on my handy Blackberry before 7 a.m. A movie location manager needed help finding a historic home to use in a movie to be filmed in Georgia. Laura Jennings, Director of Tourism for the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce, usually handles this kind of request but she had dozens of fishermen and thousands of spectators on hand for ESPN Bassmaster Elite Series Fishing Tournament on West Point Lake that weekend.
Staff members at the Troup County Archives know our historic houses and most of their owners so we got to work trying to find a house that would work for the movie Jayne Mansfield’s Car. The film crew wanted a large historic house, maybe 5-6 bedrooms. They also wanted a long tree-lined drive. At this point, the movie producers had about given up on finding a home in Georgia and were ready to move to Louisiana.
Clark Johnson and Diana Thomas emailed photos of several different houses to the movie location folks that first day. We soon realized they did not want anything located in town, plus the exterior of the home had to look big. Before we suggested anyone’s home, we called the owners to make sure they were okay with us suggesting their house. We wanted to be respectful of the owners and, at the same time, we did not want to waste the time of the movie people.
A few weeks later, Laura Jennings received word that parts of the movie would be filmed here in Troup County at one of the houses that Clark had originally suggested. Filming is taking place in late June. Billy Bob Thornton is the director and also stars in it. Other actors include Kevin Bacon and Robert Duvall. The set is closed to the public and the press but some of the actors have been seen at local restaurants and over 100 hotel rooms have been booked for five nights. We are thrilled that local merchants are benefitting from this project. They are filming interior scenes in Griffin.
We have enjoyed being part of this Hollywood project. I cannot wait for the movie to come out but Clark and I are not planning to give up our archives and museum jobs anytime soon! Our movie contact jokingly suggested we might have new careers ahead of us but he doesn’t realize how much we like our day jobs!
The next time you think of the Archives as a nice place to do a historical or genealogical research, pick up a copy of a court case or a school record, get historic photographs for your walls, or see a new exhibit at Legacy Museum, just remember we do all that and much more – including helping give the Troup County economy a major boost!
Kaye Lanning Minchew