Movie cast, crew to #8216;join community#039; this fall

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Greenville area will experience a major impact with the arrival of the cast and crew of the ‘50s-period film, &#8220Honeydripper,” being shot in the area this fall.

&#8220We are going to have a lot of people coming in who are going to be a part of our community for four whole months,” Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce Director Carol Lee said.

&#8220These people will be living here, buying food and gas here, spending money in our county – it is going to have a tremendous impact on our economy.”

Just how many Hollywood-connected folks can Butler County expect this autumn?

&#8220I've been told we will have 80 to 110 people here working on the movie at any given time. Some will be here for a short time and others, the entire four months of the shoot,” Butler County Commission for Economic Development Director Ricky McLaney said on Monday.

Tommy Fell, location coordinator for the Alabama Film Office, spoke to the Greenville Kiwanis Club on Tuesday, sharing some details of the upcoming shoot.

The pre-production film crew were slated to arrive in the area Tuesday night to make more advance arrangements and to meet with locals about the movie project.

The film, which is set in the early 1950s, will be shot in Greenville, Georgiana and the Forest Home Community and feature prominent blues performers.

A meeting is planned for today to negotiate leasing hotel rooms in Greenville for the crew's use during the lengthy shoot.

&#8220We have asked all the real estate people to be on the lookout for places we can rent. We already have two Cambrian Ridge apartments and a rental house with five bedrooms arranged. We are still looking for more places to lease,” McLaney said.

Arrangements have already been made to use the former Jim Massey Cleaners building for the film's costume design department.

Tonight, Mayor Dexter McLendon and the film's producer, Maggie Renzi, will be featured on WAKA-TV's &#8220Talk Back” segment scheduled for 5:10 p.m.

McLaney said the pre-production team is slated to visit Forest Home Thursday morning to look over property in the area.

Renzi is also scheduled to speak at the noon meeting of the Greenville Rotary Club at the Boys and Girls Club on Thursday.

Greenville Area Arts Council Membership Chairman Roberta Gamble is &#8220thrilled” to see the production coming to the county.

&#8220One of the most exciting things is the fact the timing of the shoot will coincide with our city's second Sweet Gum Bottom Blues Festival (on Oct. 14),” Gamble said.

&#8220It is wonderful to know the great artists of blues music in the 1950s are going to be celebrated through this film, during the very same time we are working to get the festival off the ground.

&#8220It takes a while to get an event like this established – and this opportunity can only help us. It's heaven sent for our town and I am very excited.”

Academy Award-nominated indie director John Sayles will be directing the film, with Danny Glover, Keb'Mo and Ruth Brown set to star.