The Town of Amite City has been swarming with actors, producers, set, production, and location specialists, and lots of camera equipment and props over the last week for the filming of an upcoming production called "The Fields".
Rumors began flying around town that a movie crew was headed this way when a group of individuals with cameras and notepads were spotted along Northeast and Southeast Central Avenues, checking out businesses such as Doug's Pawn Shop, Peoples Soda Shop, Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Hotel Ponder.
Those rumors were confirmed by John Collins, the Key Location Assistant for Gideon Productions, LLC out of New Orleans. Collins and his crew have been scouting Amite for weeks and decided that this was the perfect place to serve as "Texas City" in the feature film "The Fields". However, Amite will not be the only location in Louisiana to host the film crews. Collins said that they will be shooting in River Ridge, as well as other remote places in the state.
Amite residents may have caught a glimpse of a few of the actors in the movie, including Sam Worthington and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The film is being directed by Ami Canaan Mann, was written by Don Ferrarone, with Dave Nami in charge of the special effects. Collins gave very little information on the details of the film itself, as to not give away crucial turning points or the story line. He explained that the murder mystery movie is based on a book written about unsolved murders in League City, Texas.
The economy of the Amite has benefited from hosting this production. "It is most important to work with the town," Collins explained. "This town has a personality and character of its own," he said. He hopes that, when the studio trucks roll on to the next location, Amite can sit back and be confident about how everything played out. "Amite has been absolutely wonderful through all of this," Collins said. "Everyone who has been involved from the town has been such a tremendous help, especially Joe Dupuy and the city workers. They have made an incredible difference." He also explained, before filming began, that they would be using as many people from Amite as possible in the film. There were numerous extras pulled straight from their dinners at LaCarreta's on the Friday night, May 7 filming at the Tire Shop on Chestnut Street, as well as business owners having their shops spruced up and featured in the film. Local firefighters even had the chance to play police officers during the filming on Wednesday, May 5.
When the movie opens sometime in 2011, the residents of Amite who watch will be able to pick out many locations that they are very familiar with. Though not in the film, the former Hood Automotive location on Highway 51 served as the base camp for the operations of the movie. Doug's Pawn Shop became Texas City Hardware, and Gracie Barra's became Delaney's gift shop. A scene that blocked off Highway 16 at the railroad tracks in the heart of downtown could be the most memorable, especially to those who felt inconvenienced with the detour of traffic. Hotel Ponder will be featured quite a bit in the film, as will The Tire Shop. "We chose Amite for so many reasons," Collins explained. "This is just a picturesque small town, it is timely, has such a pastoral setting, and the wide streets have really helped out."
Collins also commented that Amite is now on the radar for other production companies who could come in and bring major revenue to the town. "We have worked really hard to help out as many people as we could. But, as with any project like this, there have been people that we have upset," Collins said. "We just hope that we do Amite justice when this film comes out."