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Movies & TV in New Orleans and southeast Louisiana

Southeast Louisiana – and specifically New Orleans – has been dubbed “Hollywood South” because of all the movies and television shows filmed & recorded here.

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(CNN) — “Argo,” which was an Oscar also-ran before it caught fire and won practically every guild and organization award available, took home the big prize at the 85th Academy Awards Sunday night: best picture.

Ben Affleck, who was overlooked for best director, graciously thanked everybody from directing nominee Steven Spielberg to the country of Canada in his acceptance speech.

Then, after rushing through his thank-yous rather manically, suddenly got emotional. “I had no idea what I was doing. I was really just a kid. I never thought I’d be back here,” he said of his screenwriting win 15 years ago. “It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life. All that matters is you’ve got to get up.”

Jennifer Lawrence won best actress for her performance in “Silver Linings Playbook.”

She got a burst of applause as she walked to the stage, almost tripping on her long dress as she approached the stage.

“This is nuts! Thank you to the Academy and thank you to the women here,” she said, practically gasping. “Happy birthday, Emmanuelle!” she added for 86-year-old Emmanuelle Riva of “Amour,” a fellow nominee.

Daniel Day-Lewis won his third best actor Oscar for his performance as Abraham Lincoln in “Lincoln.” He’s the first to win best actor three times. The audience gave him a rousing cheer as he looked over to presenter Meryl Streep.

“It’s a strange thing, I had actually been committed to play Margaret Thatcher, and Meryl was Steven’s first choice for Lincoln,” he said to laughter. “I’d like to see that version.” Streep won best actress last year for playing Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.”

Ang Lee won the Oscar for best director for “Life of Pi.” His film earned four Oscars, the most of the night.

“Thank you movie god,” he said, praising “all 3,000″ people who worked on the movie with him — as well as Taiwan, where some of the film was shot.

The film, a dark horse in the best picture race, also won best score, best cinematography and best visual effects. Cinematographer Claudio Miranda seemed particularly overcome when accepting his honor, giving a rambling speech as he tried to catch his breath.

A win for Bond

James Bond finally became a musical winner.

After five decades and countless hit theme songs, one of them finally won best song at the Oscars: Adele’s “Skyfall,” which she co-wrote with Paul Epworth.

Quentin Tarantino won best original screenplay for “Django Unchained.” “This will be the writers’ year, man,” he said, praising his fellow nominees.

Chris Terrio won adapted screenplay for “Argo,” the film’s second award of the night.

Anne Hathaway won best supporting actress for her performance as the doomed Fantine in “Les Miserables.”

“It came true,” she said, gazing at the trophy.

After several heartfelt thank-yous, she looked at her husband of six months, Adam Shulman, sitting in the audience. “Far and away the greatest moment of my life was when you walked into it.”

For the most part, the 85th Academy Awards have been a fairly low-key affair. However, high notes have come from musical performances.

Shirley Bassey, the original James Bond hit singer, dazzled with a version of “Goldfinger.” Soon after, Jennifer Hudson raised the roof — and got a standing ovation — for a remarkable version of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” from “Dreamgirls.” Hudson won an Oscar for playing Effie, who sings the song, in 2006′s film version. Adele sang her James Bond theme song, “Skyfall,” and Barbra Streisand sang “The Way We Were” for co-writer Marvin Hamlisch, who concluded the “In Memoriam” segment.

The Oscars also had an unusual occurrence — a tie. It’s happened before — Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand famously tied for 1968′s best actress — but it’s rare enough that presenter Mark Wahlberg was caught off guard.

“We have a tie,” he said, slightly stunned. “No BS, we have a tie.”

This year’s tie was in sound editing, with “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Skyfall” sharing the honor.

Waltz an early winner, MacFarlane an affable host

Christoph Waltz, who played a bounty hunter in “Django Unchained,” won the first award of the night, best supporting actor.

“My unlimited gratitude goes to Dr. King Schultz — that is, his creator and the creator of his awe-inspiring world, Quentin Tarantino,” he said. Schultz was his character in the movie.

Tarantino is up for original screenplay, though not best director. The film is up for best picture.

“Amour” won best foreign-language film. The Michael Haneke-directed work is also up for best picture.

“Brave” won best animated feature. “Searching for Sugar Man” won best documentary feature.

Host Seth MacFarlane showcased a casual affability that, at times, made him seem more like a guy in your living room telling jokes than an Oscar host. His opening was uneven, but if audiences were worried about off-color jokes, they found little to offend them — except, perhaps, for one remark: describing the violent “Django Unchained” as a “date movie” for Chris Brown and Rihanna.

“This is what we were afraid he’d do,” MacFarlane said as an aside. A later crack about Abraham Lincoln led to groans and the remark, “A hundred-fifty years, and it’s still too soon?”

The early jokes were quickly interrupted by William Shatner, in costume as “Star Trek’s” James T. Kirk, telling MacFarlane what he could do to improve headlines from the future stating he was the “worst Oscar host ever.” The suggestions included a handful of song-and-dance numbers, though there was also a performance of the movie “Flight” with sock puppets. MacFarlane demonstrated a fine singing voice — though anybody familiar with the musical numbers in his animated TV shows already knew that.

MacFarlane’s jokes got sharper as the show went on. Welcoming Michael Douglas and Jane Fonda to give the best director honor, he quipped, “They remember when this town was cocaine trees as far as the eye can see.”

“My taste aside, this is a great show for people who love Seth MacFarlane and musical theater. Which is pretty much Seth MacFarlane,” tweeted Time’s James Poniewozik.

Red carpet raves

On the red carpet, Jessica Chastain’s dusty rose Armani gown earned particular raves.

“It was a ‘Happy birthday, Mr. President’ type of dress,” Chastain told CNN’s Piers Morgan, referring to the snug dress Marilyn Monroe wore for a John F. Kennedy tribute years ago. Chastain’s well-tailored outfit, combined with her cascading reddish hair, evoked classic Hollywood glamor of the ’40s, fashion expert Joe Zee said.

The actress was as excited as a child on Christmas morning as Morgan interviewed her. “I’m at the Oscars!” she exclaimed. The performer is up for best actress for her turn as a single-minded CIA officer pursuing Osama bin Laden in “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Aside from Chastain’s stunner, one of the more interesting outfits was worn by a man: that of Mark Andrews, the director of the Pixar film “Brave.” In honor of the film — about a champion Scottish archer who saves her family — he was wearing a kilt. The tartan pattern has been registered and the attire is available for purchase, he told Morgan.

Lawrence, who’s up for best actress for her performance in “Silver Linings Playbook,” was wearing a flowing white-and-pink Dior number.

She refused to put on airs, however. Told by Morgan that people are saying she’s one of Hollywood’s rising stars, she laughed off the compliment.

“Are you sure that’s not just my mom?” she replied.

Fashion, of course, is as big an attraction as the films themselves on this, Hollywood’s biggest night, when “Who are you wearing?” becomes as commonplace an utterance as “The Oscar goes to …”

“It’s a wonderful part of the Cinderella experience,” Adams told CNN.

New Orleans probably has more great artists, per capita, than any other city. One of those is responsible for a piece of artwork that most movie-lovers will recognize: the Columbia Pictures logo.

The artist’s name is Micheal Deas and WGNO’s Molly Rosenblatt has more about that famous painting and his other great works.

More about the Ogden Museum of Southern Art: http://www.ogdenmuseum.org/index.html

More about Michael Deas: http://www.michaeldeas.com/

(News with a Twist – 2/22/13)

Hahnville, Louisiana native Elvin Ross is the director of a new documentary “Kunta Kinteh Island: Coming Home Without Shackles.”

For more information: http://www.kuntakintehislandmovie.com/

(News with a Twist – 2/22/13)

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – The New Orleans-shot crime-thriller film, The Power of Few opens in select theaters this Friday.  News With a Twist’s Kenny Lopez sat down with it’s stars and director.

“Our movie takes place in 20 minutes on one afternoon.  You see 5 stories happening simultaneously,” Director Leone Marucci said.

The Power of Few makes you think  It makes you think about how moments in life can affect things in ways we’ll never know.

“To find these characters and put them in their place, having their paths cross. It’s a quite choreographed film,” Marucci said.

The movie was shot in New Orleans and stars Anthony Anderson, Christian Slater, Christopher Walken, Juvenile and newcomer, 12-year old, Tione Johnson as “Few”—the title character.

“I feel like a star.  I have felt like a star since I was born,” Johnson said.

Rapper, Juvenile lends his star power to the big screen from the rap world.

“It’s a transition from rapping to acting.  With movies you have to memorize and be in character,”  Juvenile said.

With the film industry booming in NOLA he knows this is just the beginning.

“Put me in a Denzel Washington movie.  You want to get Juve in a movie, reach out and touch me.  I’m here,”  he said.

Director, Leone Marucci said one thing that makes the movie-making process unique is they involved the audience early on.  They let them make decisions about the movie, online.

“Let them make decisions on where a tattoo should be placed on characters and what their names should be,” Marucci said.

He hopes his movie has the power to make a few truly think.

“I want people to go to the movie and have fun piecing the puzzle together.  The reaction I’m getting is that it’s a hopeful film.  If people walk away with hope then I would be thrilled,” he said.

The Power of Few is now showing at the Theatres at Canal Place.  It’s rated R for violence and mild drug use.

The biggest movie to come out of Hollywood South this year could be an action flick based on an action figure!

GI Joe: Retaliation is the follow-up to the successful 2009 GI Joe movie, and the latest installment to the series was shot right here in New Orleans!

We got to talk to some of the stars of the movie including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Adrianne Palicki and D.J. Cotrona who told us why the movie is going to blow up at the box office, and why they enjoyed shooting in Louisiana.

(News with a Twist – 2/21/13)

News with a Twist
02/21/13

Oscar Watch Party At The Prytania

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – For over a century people have been enjoying movies, and over the last 80 years the Oscars has created a buzz surrounding actors, filmmakers, and movie goers.

“Every February when the Oscars happen it’s sort of a culmination where we get to revisit all the best movies that have been played throughout the year,” says Henry Griffin.

Griffin is an actor, filmmaker, UNO Film Department Professor, and the Vice President of the New Orleans Film Society. This Sunday he’ll be watching the Oscars while hosting an Oscar party at the Prytania.

“We really do try to make it feel exciting. You can certainly come casual if you want, but we encourage people to dress up. It’s nice to see how people come for the big night,” says Griffin.

The big night that proves just how far Louisiana has come. Now, Louisiana is the third largest film production hub in America behind California and New York.

“If you look at the movies that are nominated for awards on Sunday night, two of the nine best picture candidates were shot in Louisiana, Django Unchained and Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

For Best Picture Griffin is rooting for Beasts of the Southern Wild. “I think that they are the ultimate underdog.”

Griffin’s pick for best actress goes to: Quvenzhané Wallis. “I think it would be pretty amazing if Quvenzhané won for her performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild. I think the odds are favoring Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Lining Playbook, but I think it’ll be a surprise whoever it is.”

When it comes to the men, Griffin is undecided. “It’s an interesting horserace. I think a lot of people are picking Daniel Day Lewis. I thought Joaquin Phoenix in the master was unbelievable.”

At the Oscar party at the Prytania you’ll be able to watch the Oscars on the big screen and be entertained during commercial breaks. Doors open Sunday at 6pm. Tickets are $20 for Film Society Members, $25 for non-members and that includes prizes, lots of food, drinks and my favorite, popcorn.

Tickets can be reserved at the Prytania box office or online. For more information click here.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – It’s a name that’s not easy to say, but a name to know.  We’re talking about Quvenzhane Wallis–the 9-year old star of the Oscar-nominated film,  Beasts of the Southern Wild.  This 4th grader is truly making a name for herself.

“It just came to me and it was something that I didn’t even expect.  Something that wouldn’t happen to someone this kind of age,” Wallis said.

Young Quvenzhane is right.  It’s not something that typically happens to a kid her age.  In Oscar history, she is the youngest ever to be nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards.

“It’s something, you get excited about,” she said.

In Fox Searchlight Picture’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, Wallis plays “Hushpuppy”–a tough girl who along with her father played by Dwight Henry must face life in a fictional Louisiana community known as “The Bathtub”.

The film was shot entirely in Terrebone Parish, where Wallis is from.  She lives in Houma.

“My favorite scene is when we were eating seafood and crawfish.  That’s something we know about.  It’s just a movie that anyone can see.  It will change your emotions,”  she said.

Quvenzhane landed the role out of 4-thousand hopefuls.  She even had to lie about her age to audition.  The part called for a 6-year old.  She was only 5-years old at the time.

“She had this focus, this moral intensity, this poise, and she was very, very, defiant,”  Benh Zeitlin, the movie’s Director said.

This young starlet is proving she can flex her acting muscles with the best of them.

Beasts of the Southern Wild is also nominated for 3 other Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Tune into this year’s Academy Awards on ABC- WGNO-TV on Sunday night.

The American Red Cross, in partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Theatres at Canal Place, will roll out the red carpet Sunday, Feb. 24 for Oscar Experience® New Orleans – Louisiana’s official Oscar-viewing gala. The evening is a night to celebrate both the red carpet and the Red Cross, for nearly 100 years a partner in serving humanitarian needs in South Louisiana. WGNO ABC New Orleans and Scene Magazine serve as media sponsors in an event made possible through the generous support of our corporate sponsors.

 

The fun and festivity commences with hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and live music from local musicians beginning at 7 p.m. When the curtains go up on the 85th Academy Awards broadcast at 7:30 p.m., guests can settle into their theater seats and watch the action on the big screen, linger in the majestic foyer over open bars and a fabulous array of silent auction items, or enjoy both over the course of the party with like-minded film buffs, industry insiders and glitterati.

 

Chef Adolfo Garcia’s Gusto Cafe provides an unforgettable menu to pair with the night’s atmosphere, along with special movie-themed drinks. Enjoy the paparazzi, an unbelievable raffle courtesy of Lee Michael’s Fine Jewelry, swag bags and all the glam of a night in Hollywood, while knowing that you are supporting the life-saving mission and work of the Red Cross in South Louisiana.

 

Questions? Call Niva Becky Murillo at (504) 620-3162.

darian_stars_web  As the year comes to an end, city leaders are calculating the impact the film industry has had on the local economy.

Darian Trotter has details about the latest film; including a special guest appearance.

The drama outside of a Tulane bail bonds was all part of Hollywood making another stop in New Orleans.

This time the movie magic is about a film titled, “The Look Alike” featuring actors John Corbett, Justin long, Gillian Jacobs, and Gina Gershon.

“It’s a bit like a black comedy; it’s a bit like true romance, a bit like pulp fiction,” Film Director Richard Gray said.

Corbett plays an ex-college basketball star, who now runs a New Orleans night club.

But shady dealings on the side result in an accidental death that launches the search for a look alike.

We aren’t allowed to reveal much more, but just know the scenes are action packed all over the city.

The film was originally set in Los Angeles, but as with others; creators fell in love with Louisiana.

“So we changed everything. We build in the swamp, we built in the food the jazz, the French quarter and we’re so excited to do so,” Gray said.

The local film industry is excited too.

Last year $531 million dollars was pumped into the local economy.

Kim Barnard moved here from Texas.

“Came here to work on one film, fell in love with your city, never left; and luckily for me the film industry has maintained my lifestyle here,” First Assistant Director Kim Barnard said.

“This is him being brought to justice,” Gray said.

In one of the last scenes of the film the star-studded cast has to move over for TV’s Darian trotter.

Trotter asked, “Any words for the families of the victims?

At the last minute Trotter was asked to play a late-breaking news reporter as Corbett’s character had his day in court.

“And as you can see, over my shoulder the suspect is being wheeled into the courthouse,” Trotter said. “He is escorted by two New Orleans police officers. Inside the courthouse there’s anticipation and excitement; where there’s standing room only.”

Crews with ‘The Look Alike’ will be filming in New Orleans until the end of the month.

A target release date is set for late next year.

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