ACADIANA, La. (KLFY) – While many movies are shot in cities like New Orleans, Baton Rouge and even Shreveport, there is always a buzz when movies are shot in Cajun Country. In April of 2022, Morgan Freeman was in Lafayette shooting the movie “57 Seconds.” With the movie having a limited release on Friday, here are a few of the many well known films had scenes shot, or even the entire production taking place right in our backyard.
A biographical sports and drama film, “Secretariat” was largely based on a 1975 book by William Nack of a similar name, “Secretariat: The Making of a Champion.” The film centers around the life of the race horse that won the Triple Crown in 1973. The film starred Academy Award nominated actors Diane Lane and John Malkovich. While parts of the film were shot in Kentucky, scenes featuring the Triple Crown infields were shot in Opelousas at Evangeline Downs. Other shooting locations for the movie included Lafayette and Carencro.
The production had open casting calls for extras in the film. Casting even sought after two young girls from the area to be cast as Diane Lane’s character as children. The film went on to be nominated for an ESPY award and has positive reviews from websites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.
In the Electric Mist (2009)
Based on the novel “In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead” by James Lee Burke, the film revolves around the character Dave Robicheaux, a former homicide detective for the New Orleans Police Department, who is now a detective for the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office. Robicheaux was the titular character for many of Burke’s novels.
Robicheaux was portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones and featured many well known actors like John Goodman, Peter Sarsgaard, Mary Steenburgen and Ned Beatty. While it featured shooting locations in Jeanerette and Delcambre, as well as Lake Fausse Pointe State Park in St. Martinville, a lot of the movie was shot around New Iberia, like the Iberia Parish Courthouse and the SLCC campus.
It may not be a well known film because it was never released in the theaters in the U.S. An edited version was released direct-to-DVD, while the director’s cut was released to the rest of the world. Despite the limited release, it received the Grand Prix at the first “Festival International du Film Policier de Beaune,” a French film festival.
The Blob (1988)
“The Blob” was a science fiction/horror film that was a remake of the original 1958 movie of the same name. While the original starred Steve McQueen in his first feature film, the remake in 1988 starred Shawnee Smith, most well known for her role on the sitcom “Becker” and as Amanda Young in the Saw franchise.
The film was shot entirely in Abbeville. According to Wikipedia, the whole cast and crew of nearly 150 people stayed at a Travelodge in the city. Because the film was mostly shot at night, the crew would sleep during the day. While the movie received mixed reviews when it released, it still has positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and has a cult following.
The Apostle (1997)
Written, directed by and starring Academy Award winning actor Robert Duvall, the movie was a drama about a Pentecostal preacher in a fictional town in Louisiana. Despite the town being fictional, it was shot in the very real areas of Sunset, Lafayette and St. Martinville. Duvall was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance and the film itself won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Film in 1997.
Tarzan of the Apes (1918)
The first Tarzan film ever made and based on the original novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs which was published only 5 years prior in 1912, “Tarzan of the Apes” was shot in the swamps of Morgan City, as they resembled the African jungle.
The earlier days of the film industry were a bit like the “Wild West” in that there were less regulations and rules governing production. The role of a young Tarzan was played by Gordon Griffith, who was 10 years old at the time. The majority of his time on camera was played in the nude. While most shots were framed to not show the actor’s genitals, there was a brief shot where they were visible. This was also one of the first films to feature a named actor in a nude scene.
Other Movies Shot in Acadiana
- Passion Fish (1992) – Shot in Lake Arthur (Jeff Davis Parish)
- The Drowning Pool (1975) – Shot in Lafayette, as well as Lake Charles and New Orleans
- Easy Rider (1969) – Few scenes shot in Krotz Springs
- Deja Vu (2006) – Few scenes shot in Morgan City, mostly in New Orleans
Many lower budget and SyFy channel movies were also shot around Acadiana.
- Big Shark (2023) – Scenes shot in Lafayette
- Arachnoquake (2012) – Scenes shot in Lafayette
- Storm War (2011) – Mostly shot in Lafayette