Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 28, 2006

production ‘kicking along'

From tent revival choirs and country stores-turned-blues clubs, to shorn-headed military cadets, the people and places of Butler County are going to be making their mark on Hollywood as production of &#8220Honeydripper” continues.

On my way into work here on Sunday afternoon, I made a side trip to Midway to check out the progress on the old Phelps Grocery building, which will be featured in the film as the Honeydripper Lounge itself.

Allen Phelps, owner of the building, happened to be there when I stopped to take a look inside.

&#8220They are really moving along. They have a cat walk built up top now for the lights and cameras,” Allen told me.

What is currently the front of the building will become the back. The rear of the building, which faces a shady pecan grove, will be transformed into the entrance to star Danny Glover's &#8220juke joint.”

&#8220I think we will really see a lot of changes to the place in the next week. It's exciting. What was one type of landmark here is becoming another type,” Allen said.

Jim Purvis of Purvis Signs in Greenville is actually creating the sign for the front of the Honeydripper, a project producer Maggie Renzi calls &#8220a big element in the design of the lounge.”

I chatted with Jim last week and he, too, is very excited to be a part of the filmmaking process.

&#8220I feel honored they chose me to do this. I have enjoyed getting to know the production designer, Toby Corbett, and we get along great,” Jim said.

Jim said the sign will be have a weathered appearance but still be &#8220pretty fancy for a country juke joint in 1950.”

&#8220I did some research into how signs were designed and painted back then, and we are going to definitely give it the right look,” the sign maker told me.

I also got to sit in on rehearsals at New Beginnings Ministries last Wednesday, and brothers and sisters, those folks can sing!

Eight of their choir members have been chosen to play the tent revival choir in a scene for the movie, scheduled to be filmed next Friday night.

Local musical fixture Charlie Kennedy, who is working with these good folks, tells me he and my cousin Rock Killough will play small roles in the film as well.

&#8220They are going to have me and Rock sitting on a porch down in Georgiana, from what I understand,” Charlie told me. (Whether they will be pickin' and grinnin,' I cannot say.)

Brian Williams of the regular choir also has a speaking part in the film (do you suddenly feel as if stars are popping up all around you?)

Down in south Butler County, I hear the transformation is amazing in downtown Georgiana. I hope by the time this column appears, I will have been down and seen the new look at NAPA Auto Parts, Big T's Gym, Lowery Hardware and other spots, and had the chance to chat with the locals about being part of the &#8220Honeydripper” experience.

A group of students from Fort Dale Academy will also appear in the film as military academy cadets. There is one catch: the boys will have to shave their heads. Ah well, it'll grow back - and how many chances do you get to be in a movie?

As Charlie said about one of the songs the choir is rehearsing for the movie, things are &#8220kickin' along” with the film production.

Angie Long is Lifestyles reporter for The Greenville Advocate. She can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 132 or via email at