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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - A Louisiana stunt woman to such stars as Demi Moore and Lucy Lui has performed extremely tough stunts for some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters.

Now she’s taking on one of her toughest roles…getting her physical strength back.

For the past 20 years, Stunt woman, Leigh Hennessy has made a movie career out of doing the most daring stunts including:  jumping out of helicopters, falling out of windows, and out of boats.

She started off modeling and then got her big break in the hit movie, “G.I. Jane” starring Demi Moore.  Hennessy played Moore’s stunt double.

“I doubled for Demi Moore in “G.I. Jane”.  I shaved my head, jumped out of helicopters, planes, and got beat up by Viggo Mortensen.  It was fabulous,”  she said.

From being Demi Moore’s stunt woman in G.I. Jane and Lucy Lui’s in Charlie’s Angels to doubling for Helen Mirren and even Tea Leoni in “Bad Boys”…her body’s certainly been put through a lot.  A gymnast at a young, she’s always lived actively.
“I developed arthritis at an early age.  When I was doing sports I injured both of my knees,”  Hennessy said.

A lifetime of knee injuries caught up with her.  Leigh eventually needed full knee replacement surgery, which she got done at Touro Infirmary in April.

Since then, she’s been working with her physical therapist at Touro, Robbie Banta.  He’s getting this stunt woman back in action!

“My experience with him is that he’s very knowledgeable about what my needs are because we’re both gymnasts.  He completely understands where I’m coming from,”  she said.

For Leigh, it’s important she gets the range of motion back in her knees.

Robbie’s boot camp is a little different than working on “G.I. Jane”.

“It’s tough love.  You need to have somewhat of a caring heart.  You can’t just be a drill sergeant, going in and snapping the knee,”  Banta said.

Hennessy feels more confident that she’s getting her strength back in her knee.

“I want to be strong enough to accept as much stunt work as possible,”  she said.

“With her you have higher level goals.  I’d like to get her back to doing what she was doing.  I want her to know that if her knee bends and she jumps out of three story window that she will feel confident doing it,”  Banta said.

Soon enough…her knees will be strong enough to jump out of even more planes, windows, and boats.

“She’s the bionic woman.  They build her stronger, better, and faster,”  Banta said.

Recently, Leigh worked on “Don’t Mess with Texas” starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara, which just finished shooting in New Orleans.

Hennessy is from Louisiana and runs her own trampoline studio.  She continues to work on many films as a stunt performer, actress, and stunt coordinator.   She is in the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

For more information:

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - After wowing crowds Sunday night at the Superdome, Beyonce, Jay Z and Blue Ivy toured New Orleans.

The superstar posted several photos to her instagram account of the National World War II Museum. While here, she also spend a relaxing night in the Bywater swimming at The County Club, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page.

(WGNO) - A star in one generation has become a director for a new generation. John Schneider aka Bo Duke has bought some land in Louisiana and plans to shoot his movies and possibly student productions there.

The “Dukes of Hazzard” star sat down with WGNO reporter Jeff Womack to discuss his later endeavor.

“I felt more like a director at 10 years old than I ever felt on Dukes,” Schneider said. “I was an actor. It was great, but I wasn’t a filmmaker.”

From the driver’s seat to director’s chair, things are looking good.

Schneider said his new movie “Smothered” has a huge cast, especially for a horror movie. And according to reviewers it’s different. “They said the most amazing thing about “Smothered” is that no one has done this before.”

The premise. A beautiful girl lures people into her lair and kills them.

“Usually the story here is pretty college people are killed systematically by the guys in the mask. Now it’s all the guys in the mask being killed by the beautiful college girl,” Schneider explained.

But where the movie is being shot, is not just a set. It’s Schneider’s home. He bought the whole place.

“This place just screamed, screamed of horror movies, screamed of having every location I could possibly want,” he said.

Schneider’s property has a swamp, an old barn, a pool, and a house painted purple on one side and yellow on the other.

“We’re all children waiting for a bedtime story. We’ve had a rough day. We’ve done homework. We’ve been bullied at the soccer field. We just want a nice story that has solid beginning, a promise of a happy ending of some sort, and an end that will lull me into a wonderful night of sleep. People have gotten away from that.”

John Schneider studios plan to shoot two movies per year at the new location. The rest of the year he said he’ll help other students of cinema make their visions come alive.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - He’s got big muscles and big celebrity clients.

You’re about to meet the personal trainer to the stars of Hollywood South.

We caught up with this muscle man at Franco’s on Magazine.

No need to guess what Aaron Williamson’s true passion is.  His bulging biceps and chiseled chest are total giveaways.

Fitness became Williamson’s passion while in the Marine Corps.

“As my time progressed in the Marines, fitness became a sanctuary and a place of peace for me.  When I had some tough times, I knew I could always turn to the gym.  It became a savior for me,” he said.

This 240-pound muscle man moved to New Orleans for contract work from Iraq.  He soon made a connection at the gym with a certain Hollywood hunk who was looking to gain muscle mass for a film.

“Ended up meeting Zac Efron.  He was filming “The Lucky One”.  We connected.  He plays a Marine in the movie and I taught him how to be a Marine.  Zac’s a really cool and funny guy.  He’s very intense about training.  His best body part is definitely his abs and chest.  I’m jealous of his chest, and he knows it too,”  Williamson said.

Now that he’s a film industry fitness expert, Efron isn’t his only celebrity client.   In Hollywood South, he’s worked with Sylvester Stallone,  Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Josh Brolin, Adrien Brody, Hayden Christensen, Jamie Foxx and James Marsden.

“James Marsden is getting stacked for his new movie, “Best of Me”.  Fans will enjoy seeing him all muscled-up.”

Williamson said he feels very blessed to be working in the film industry with so many talented folks.

“I’ve been extremely fortunate to work with extremely talented actors.  The majority of the time an actor will come to me because of the way they need to look like for a film,”  he said.

So how exactly did Aaron help Zac Efron get those awesome abs?

“We keep the training very functional.  We focus on cardio training.  We keep his dieting up, work with his metabolism, and keep his eating in check.  It’s a six-pack abs year-round type of program.”

He remembers one time, Efron wanted to work out so bad, nothing could stop him.

“He came in straight from set and he was all muddy from the rain.  We trained in sneakers, shorts, no shirt, and he was all muddy.  There was humor in that,” Williamson said.

From actors to TV Reporters, everyone needs a good personal trainer.  From the marines to the movies, Aaron is making a major mark.

He just signed on with Scene Magazine to write a weekly health and fitness column and he’s a stunt man/actor  in the new Terminator: Genesis.

For more information on Aaron Williamson:

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - You’re looking at the world’s first 100% off-the-grid, Eco-friendly, technologically advanced, luxurious talent trailer…the “Ecoluxe”.

The “Ecoluxe is part of the Hollywood Trucks fleet of trailers.  The “Ecoluxe” is home away from home for Hollywood South’s biggest stars.

“If you name a star, anyone in the Entertainment industry, there’s a good chance they’ve been in one of our trailers,”  Hollywood Trucks Developer, Andre Champagne, said.

Champagne said the “Ecoluxe”  is 43-feet long and costs about $150,000.

Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Chris Rock, Sandra Bullock, and Bruno Mars are just a few of the stars who have recently stayed in these trailers.

The “Ecoluxe” talent trailer will be used on the sets for “American Horror Story, “Terminator 5: Genesis” and the new “Fantastic Four” .

“The “Ecoluxe” is a star in it’s own right.  It’s taking environmental friendliness and luxury to new heights.

“There’s no toxic paint used in this entire unit.  All of the lights are LED,” he said.

In the past, talent trailers ran entirely on generators, but not the solar and thermal powered “Ecoluxe”.  A generator is only necessary for an hour maximum, in order for the truck to recharge.

‘The change is dramatic in terms of energy consumption,”  Champagne said.

These trailers are full of amenities for their rich and famous clientele.

“DirecTV, Apple Extreme, high speed internet, and the TV serves as an I-mac computer,”  he said.

Champagne knows celebrities need a comfortable place to stay while they are filming movies and TV shows.

“All you really want at the end of the day is for someone to enjoy it, like it, and say this is amazing.”

Hollywood Trucks operate in both Louisiana and Georgia.

Hollywood Trucks was developed in Louisiana back in 2007.  Champagne is a Louisiana native.

Plans are in the works to expand to Los Angeles, Texas and London.

For more information: and 1-888-987-8252.


NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - This summer, Hollywood South is heating up with high-budget, highly anticipated blockbuster films.

What do Sofia Vergara, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and dinosaurs all have in common?

They are all in New Orleans filming soon-to-be blockbusters.

Schwarzenegger promised he’d “be back” and “Terminator: Genesis,” which is the 5th Terminator is currently shooting all around The Big Easy.

Another film of Jurassic proportions is “Jurassic World.”  It’s the fourth “Jurassic Park” movie.  It begins filming in June.  Director, Colin Trevorrow is already building hype by teasing fans on his Twitter account.  He recently posted a picture of a costume badge that the dinosaurs veterinarians will be wearing in the flick.

You don’t want to mess with prehistoric creatures or Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara’s star power for that matter.  The lovely actresses just started filming a buddy comedy called, “Don’t Mess with Texas.” Both Vergara and Witherspoon have been posting pictures from the set on their WhoSay and Twitter accounts. See picture HERE

Another comedy currently in production is “American Ultra.”  “Adventureland” stars, Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart team up again for the movie which is about a stoner’s past that comes back to haunt him.

Louisiana-made movies span the state.  Heading northwest to Baton Rouge…the new “Fantastic Four aka Henry Street” and “Pitch Perfect 2″ both are shooting now.

With all these major movies being made in Hollywood South, it looks like our movie-making capabilities won’t be going extinct.




sofiavergara4NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - ABC’s “Modern Family” star, Sofia Vergara isn’t acting like she has the breakup blues.

Vergara split from her on-again-off again fiance, Nick Loeb, but spent Memorial Day weekend living it up with family in New Orleans.

The star posted pictures to her WhoSay account showing off her adventures with alligators on a Swamp tour, hanging out in Jackson Square and eating beignets.   Vergara is currently filming a comedy with Reese Witherspoon in New Orleans.

Vergara revealed the break-up to her fans via her WhoSay account where she wrote, “Not that anyone should care, but in order to not give the press the chance to invent crazy and hurtful drama, I prefer to tell my fans personally that Nick and I have decided to be apart.  We have been having too many problems with figuring out how to spend time together, “she said.

From the looks of it, New Orleans has the power to cure a broken heart!


(Photo Credit: WhoSay)

He’s the TV host who puts the X in EXTRA – – – Mario Lopez. WGNO News with a Twist features reporter Wild Bill Wood heads to Hollywood to chat with him on the set of the show at Universal Studios.

Amber Riley and Derek Hough are in the Dancing with the Stars finals. WGNO News with a Twist features guy Wild Bill Wood gives them a score of “1000” as he chats with them in Hollywood before the season finale.