Thursday, November 29, 2007

Long weekend. Hope we catch our flight. Back Monday.

Get your scene study on

There are yet more acting classes available in The Shreve. Here are two opportunities:

Southern University at Shreveport is offering a continuing education course for aspiring actors. Students will learn about auditioning, set etiquette, terminology, and basic script literacy.
It will be led by Barbara Brinkley, who has 20 years worth of casting experience. She’ll be assisted by Jesse Adams, a casting associate. The class begins Jan. 19 and runs through March 18. Class will be held Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost is $250 and requires a $100 deposit. Balance is due by Jan. 15. To register, call (318) 678-4669 or (800) 458-1472 ext. 669. Email contacts are or

Acting coach and actress Theresa Bell is continuing her work with a core group of local actors. She's from Dallas, but travels here even other week or so. The next class is full, but you can audit (or basically watch) for $25. It's scheduled for Dec. 9 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. For more info, including location, contact Tara Duncil at or (318) 573-0039.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gary Chason returning to teach acting class

Former casting director Gary Chason will conduct an actors’ workshop in Shreveport between Dec. 5 and Dec. 8. The workshop is designed for beginners and intermediates, and will focus on different aspects of screen acting.

Chason worked as a casting director for “Paper Moon,” “Pretty Baby,” “Paris, Texas,” and other projects. He lives in Austin.

Class on Dec. 5, scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m., is $30 and will focus on reading lines. Class on Dec. 6, from 6 to 9 p.m., is $30 and will focus on acting for the camera. Class on Dec. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m., is $10 and will be a lecture and demonstration by Chason. Class on Dec. 8, from 1 to 6 p.m., is $50 and will be a scene study workshop.

Attendees can register for all four days for $100. Classes will be held at the Actor’s Café, 1411 Fairfield Avenue (formerly Bear’s Café).

To register or for more information about each day’s activities, contact Erin Howell at or (214) 437-1649.

'Hannah Montana' to film in Tennessee or Louisiana?

It's not out of the question, but the likelihood of Miley Cyrus filming her "Hannah Montana" movie in Louisiana appears less than likely at present. The Tennessean recently reported that a movie is going to start filming in April. Where? From the sounds of it, Tennessee is the frontrunner.

Miley's father, Billy Ray Cyrus, did float some doubt out there, though. He told The Tennessean that the competitive incentives between Tennessee and Louisiana are pretty close: "We're going to need some immediate assistance from the film commissioner, the legislators, the governor — everybody that would like to see this film come to Tennessee needs to start acting now. They are going to make this decision very quickly."

"There are plenty of locations and plenty of people who could make a good film. It's going to come down to budgets."

I called Louisiana's state office (Louisiana Economic Development) yesterday to see what's up. They said Disney mentioned the project "earlier" during discussions about many projects -- they wouldn't specify when -- but that this specific project hasn't been mentioned since.

That doesn't put Louisiana out of the question. But if "Hannah Montana" were to shoot here, we would be hearing a lot of chatter about setting up production offices, crewing up, and crazy fans trying to get her autograph.

I haven't heard anything yet, but I'll keep an ear to the ground.

PHOTO: Hannah Montana sings to her fans while performing in concert November 15, 2007 at the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City. (Douglas Collier/The Times)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

'Comeback' needs more extras

The feature film “Comeback” needs people to work as background extras. BAM Casting is holding an extras casting call on Saturday (Dec. 1) between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Actor’s Café, 1411 Fairfield Avenue (formerly Bear’s Café).

All races and ethnicities are needed, according to a press release. Specifically, the production is seeking lookalikes and stand-ins for the film's stars, Ice Cube and Keke Palmer. Also needed are people to play football coaches, players, referees, cheerleaders and fans; teenage punk kids; school kids ages 12 and up; and parents and townspeople.

All applicants should bring nonreturnable photographs of themselves no larger than four-by-six inches. If applicants do not have a photograph, casting directors will take one during the casting call.

“Comeback” will be directed by Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit frontman) and will begin filming Monday (Dec. 3).

There is no cost to apply. For more information, log on to or call (318) 698-1313.

Monday, November 26, 2007

MarketWatch reports on film industry, Shreveport

Check out this article from MarketWatch (Dow Jones), which was filed from its Los Angeles bureau. It offers thorough overview of the state of the state's industry. Shreveport gets a lot of play. The story was also picked up by

Here's an excerpt: "Filmmakers in Shreveport say the state used to be the spot where movies that took place in Louisiana were shot. Now Shreveport serves as a backdrop for any town, including even that other L.A.

"'There's a downtown corridor that you can make look like any major city,' said Michael Flannigan, executive producer for Millennium Films. The company's headquarters are on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, but it's breaking ground in coming months on a new film center in Shreveport, complete with sound stages, he said."

That plays into a conversation I had recently with a local producer, who said Shreveport's downtown, which is full of old and many vacant buildings, is like a studio backlot.

POLL RESULTS: Was new ending a good idea?

Here are the results of the recent blog poll. Judging by box office receipts for “The Mist,” it looks like our idea of a great idea was commercially suspect. Oh, well. Money can be pretty dumb sometimes:

Question: Director Frank Darabont wrote a new ending for 'The Mist,' which is based on a Stephen King novella. That is:

16% … A bad idea. King's faithful will cry foul. (8 votes)
10% … A good idea. The original ending sucked. (5 votes)
53% … A great idea. Darabont has proven himself the king of King adaptations. (26 votes)
8% … Unimportant. I didn't read the story and don't care to. (4 votes)
12% … Sooo off topic. All I care about is seeing Shreveport, baby! (6 votes)

PHOTO CREDIT: Director Frank Darabont works on the set of "The Mist," a Dimension Films feature film shot in Shreveport and northwest Louisiana. (Ralph Nelson/The Weinstein Company)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

'The Mist' doesn't attract big Turkey crowd

Mixed to decent reviews, an R rating, no marquee names and one brave but bleak finale have translated into a locally disappointing opening weekend for "The Mist." It will likely come in 9th place and take in an estimated $9 million from Friday to today. From Wednesday, its opening day, it will likely gross $13 million. Check the charts at, or check Variety's report.

Disney's "Enchanted" secured the biggest business, earning an estimated $50 million since Wednesday. "The Mist" was released on about 2,400 screens, while Enchanted took over about 3,600.

If you take "Enchanted" out of the equation, the rest of the box office is slugging it out for audiences. Just over $9 million will separate 2nd from 9th.

"The Mist" will face a lot of competition in the coming weeks, with more than 60 films set for release from Thanksgiving through the end of the year. Will is scare up a cult or consistent following? It's definitely a tough road.


If you didn't catch it, my interview with Matthew Broderick ran today. He was recently in town filming "Wonderful World."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Stories from ‘The Mist’: Part 4

It's probably an understatement to say that some extras got some quality time with the cast and crew of "The Mist," which was shot primarily on a grocery store set inside StageWorks of Louisiana. Locals have shared about a dozen anecdotes with me about hobnobbing with the Hollywooders. Above is a picture of Kim Woodard, who's showing off a journal she kept on the set." Actors Buck Taylor and William Sadler added their own self-portraits. How cool is that?

Below is my last edition of tales from the set.

James Paul: "All of the actors and the extras became one big family. … When it was over nobody wanted to go.I've been in 12 movies and this one I'm dying to see."

Frances "Frannie" McKenzie: "I cannot say enough about the assistant directors K.C. and Paula, they were so patient with all us 'newcomers' and Paula and her husband Courtney shared their dog with the extras so we wouldn't be so homesick for our own pets. The first assistant directors George and Craig and the production assistant mark, were just great and took up a lot of time with us out in holding. A lot of the stars came to holding and took pictures with us, signed autographs and visited with us on and off throughout the filming. Ginnie Randall not only visited with us but sang for us, Buck Taylor shared his wonderful gift of sketching with us, David Jensen and William Sadler shared stories and kept us in stitches with their antics, and Nathan and all the other children were so well behaved and just a delight to be around."

Isaac Manuel, Jr.: "During my time on the set of 'The Mist,' what I enjoyed most was the 'special' bond that was created among all of the core extras while we were in holding, waiting to shoot a particular scene. And, even thought I don't consider myself a scary person and realized that we were shooting a movie, there were times that I became frightened by some of the characters, situations and plots that came out of 'The Mist.'"

Jonathan Fife: "I helped fuel the actors' performances while in the camera frame with them & off camera. It is my impression that the director and assistant director were very pleased with my performance and assistance. I would like the chance to thank the casting agency, crew, actors, assistant director and director for letting me participate in such an 'awesome' experience."

Gwen Hughes: "I was an extra 'in' 'The Mist.' It was an awesome experience. A lot of long hours, a lot of waiting in holding, but it was worth it. The actors were superb. The stunt men and one woman were fantastic. The AD's and crew were excellent and could not have been more accommodating. And what can I say, the director, Frank Darabont, was amazing, an unbelievable artist. It was an experience I will always remember."

John McLeaish on playing a 'believer' and being part of the mob: "I'm yelling stuff like 'Amen' and 'Get him,' so I guess that makes me a believer. … It was just like watching a painting come to life.'"

Tom Wallace on who got in trouble eating the props from the grocery store set: "Andre Braugher stepped up and confessed to that."

Meanwhile, if you happen to go see the movie over the Thanksgiving weekend, please post your thoughts in the comments field of my review or add some chatter to my blog. I'd love to know what you think. As you can see by my previous post, opinions are divided.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Review: 'The Mist' is ...

... so good. So smart. So angry. And I've already had a spirited disagreement with a film buddy whose opinion I value more than gold. I love how this movie divides us.

Click here to read my review for The Shreveport Times. Here's a snippet: "More than simply a picture that goes boo and bang, 'The Mist' carefully paints the delusions of faith and the failures of reason that drive the townsfolk mad."

Stories from ‘The Mist’: Part 3

Word of the day: expiation, or expiate. "To make amends or reparation for (wrongdoing or guilt); atone for," according to "Webster's New World College Dictionary," 4th edition. I wonder what Mrs. Carmody's definition is?

Pictured above is Elmer Hermes (left) with actor Sam Witwer of "The Mist."

Here are more tidbits from the grocery store set of 'The Mist,' where extras spent about five weeks.

Jim Cooper: "During a break in one scene, while visiting quietly with a tall, nice looking lady, I began to do a couple of clogging steps to stay loose. She immediately recognized the steps and began to clog and sing 'Rocky Top.' It turned out that she was a past Texas State Champion clogger. A few days/scenes later she performed her Mist role as 'The Terrified Lady.'"

Tammy Eaton: "It is always exciting being on any set. But, the energy level was more intense than normal on this one. You could feel it in the air. I am one of the town's people in the running scene. My partner Terry and I got to run into the camera across the store's parking lot while everyone else ran in the other direction. With Terry's help and crew I got through a couple of hours of running. The look on all our faces are more than likely very real."

Mike Martindale: "There are two moments that particularly stand out for me. The first was one morning a couple of weeks into shooting. We were first getting onto the set. Frank (Darabont) was by Video Village, where he monitors the camera shots, and he said, 'Good morning, Mike. How's it going?' I don't even remember what I said. Something like, 'Great, I'm just glad to be here.' The other was toward the end of the movie. … I had to get up from between two registers, and go stand behind Marcia Gay Harden. And between takes, Frank had come over to choreograph some things and he was telling me, one on one, move between these registers to Marcia, then when you move from Marcia, pick up the pipe wrench here and then move to up here, etc. Outside, I'm nodding, 'Yes, sir, got it, OK,' but inside I'm screaming. I'm actually taking direction from FRANK DARABONT! What a moment."

Brenda and Jim Graves: "The white house on the lake in the beginning of the movie 'Drayton's House.' My most memorable time at the set was chatting with Patricia Arquette in our living room, and watching her and Thomas Jane having lunch in our dining room. Also, their daughter Harlow playing with our kids Warren and Arianne-that was cool!!!"

Jeannie Perrin: "I met Buck Taylor, who many remember as Newly on Gunsmoke, on the set. I showed him a picture which included me, my aunt and his late father Dub Taylor cutting up on the set of 'Creature of Black Lake' which was also filmed locally back in 1976. He was so moved I gave him a copy and he autographed mine. What are the odds that I, as a teenager, would get to be photographed with a celebrity and then in one with his son 30 years later?"

And I think I have a few more anecdotes to share tomorrow, opening day for "The Mist."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Shh, shh ... the movie hasn't started yet

I just attended "The Mist" advanced screening with 200 or 300 local folks, and I think I was sitting in the rowdiest section. I was surrounded by a few extras, all of which have been desperate to see the film since it wrapped production in Shreveport earlier this year.

Dagnabbit, were they excited. And cheering. And shocked. And gleeful when they caught glimpses of themselves on screen. I sat next to one local actress -- Dodie Brown -- who managed to get a line (see previous post). That was pretty cool.

It's hard to explain, but these folks are all drawn together by this curious kind of electricity. It arcs when they recognize themselves or a familiar face. To sit among them is invigorating for those who live vicariously. (I'm a reporter, so I do this for a living.)

But ... it's going to take this crowd a few different viewings to understand just what kind of film this is, and just who director Frank Darabont is turning into as a storyteller. (Not to be a snob, but I'm not sure too many of us care about the latter question. ... OK, fine. I'm a snob.)

I'll tell you what I think soon. My review, which is safe for pre-screening consumption if you read reviews, is en route.

In the meantime, here's some unsolicited advice for that rowdy crowd and everybody who wants to tell everything about "The Mist."

Don't. Store away the spoilers for as long as you can. Let the movie simmer a bit. Keep it inside. Don't corrupt friends and family with talk about the ending. Hold onto that electricity just a little bit longer. Let others be genuinely surprised to discover you and "The Mist" on screen, just like you may have been tonight.

Stories from ‘The Mist’: Part 2

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

Extras spent weeks with the cast and crew of "The Mist." The apocalyptic tale traps townsfolk inside a grocery store, where they defend themselves from other-worldly monsters and fight a shared fear of the unknown. Marcia Gay Harden's performance as Mrs. Carmody, the group's doomsday machine, earned rave reviews from the extras. (In the pic, Harden's got the purse.)

Here are a few extras' stories.

Michael Wilburn: "It was truly an exhausting, yet exhilarating experience. I learned so much. Just an acting class working with Marcia Gay Harden, William Sadler, at others in such intimate surroundings for so many days would cost thousands of dollars. There were many moments of which I learned so much about various aspects of the movie industry. And particularly one defining moment in a scene which Marcia Gay Harden and myself seem to be exactly on the same page of what can only be described as a crazed sense of horror deep within her being. As she whispered her lines she turned and we made eye contact, my eyes widened and I shivered watching the master of her craft ... her ghostly stare was so haunting. No sooner than Frank Darabont yelled cut, Mrs. Harden turned toward me with a smile. I smiled back as if we both knew as they say, 'she nailed it.' She honestly brought me to another level of which I will most likely never achieve again."

Darlene Davis: "I did several scenes with Ms. Harden during the earthquake, and in the beginning when the first man runs in from the mist. I guess I was an official screamer, I am very easily spooked and every time something scary happened I screamed. I apologized to Frank several times, he said it was great that he had someone with a natural scream. And he got it."

Dusty Graham: "Ms. Harden and Darabont could talk extras into walking into fire, they were so inspiring. What a privilege. Who would have thought at age 62, in Shreveport, La. I would work five weeks on a movie set? All my Texas relatives who wonder why I still live in Louisiana are green with envy and their mouths are hanging open to think that movies are made in Shreveport. Can't wait for the movie. I even saw myself in the preview!!!!"

Dodie Brown (pictured): "It has been by far the most fabulous movie experience ever for me and my 7 year old daughter, Taylor. What a blessing to be cast in a Stephen King movie directed by the great Frank Darabont in a mother/daughter role with my actual daughter! We were both upgraded as principal actors ('screaming woman' and 'screaming child') and therefore both became eligible to join the Screen Actors Guild! Director Frank Darabont was full of energy and very motivational despite the long hours. Marcia Gay Harden, whose performance as Mrs. Carmody was amazing, will hopefully received special recognition for a job very well done!"

More anecdotes tomorrow.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Stories from 'The Mist': Part 1

My Times coverage for "The Mist" is rockin' along. You can read today's efforts here (Frank Darabont), here (extras) and here (local "food").

The extras were kind enough to send in some of their anecdotes from the set. Here are excerpts from some of their emails. No spoilers here.

Lorie Knighton (pictured with Jeannie and Johnny): "One of my favorite parts (even though they never used us) was when four of us got to get bloody. They made us up, but never did anything with us. But all day long I was running around with busted nose and blood. I was really acting silly -- in fact -- was outside and for ... giggles, a mid aged couple was walking down the street and I leaned over the edge and had a horrified look on my bloody face and scared the holy crap out of them. I immediately told them it was makeup and thank god they did not have a heart attack!!!! And later that evening was smoking a cig and this guy came up to me and was truly worried that I had been hurt. I think he was a little drunk, cause it took him awhile for it to sink in that I told him it was makeup and a movie. It was hilarious."

Lauren Hillman: “I read your article about Marcia and Frank speaking so highly of the extras. I just wanted to write you and let you know just as highly as they think of us, I can assure you everyone of us feels the same way. Frank, Marcia, Kasey, Paula, George, the list goes on and on. Every one of the cast and crew were amazing! I talked with Marcia Gay Harden in between shoots one day and she just sat and visited with me like she had know me her whole life."

Margaret Wren: “On the movie set of ‘Stephen King’s The Mist,’ the extras spent over a month ‘trapped’ in a small grocery store together. As time went along we became like family to each other, we ate, laughed, slept, dressed, used the bathroom together, and even had a little drama here and there!”

Zoe McCombs: “I was on the set for one day and at the back of the store. I could see that I would be bored so I started straightening the shelves. Within minutes the head of props came over and told me to leave the things alone as we had ‘a storm last night’ he said. I knew I wouldn't be seen so I pulled a huge pack of Charmin' from the shelves and sat on it.”

I'll share more anecdotes tomorrow.

Friday, November 16, 2007

William Joyce opens 'Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium'

Shreveport's William Joyce can add a new title to his growing creative c.v.: opening credits director. The celebrated children's author and a team from Reel FX Studios in Dallas designed the opening sequence for "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium," which opens today in theaters.

Why Joyce? "Robots" (2005) and "Meet the Robinsons" (2007) were his babies, and he's undoubtedly poised for more big projects.

Click here to read an article we published Wednesday.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Learn 'New Hollywood' cinema from Shreveport director

Shreveporter Jeffrey Goodman shot "The Last Lullaby" in northwest Louisiana in early 2007 and then headed to L.A. for seven months of post-production. He just finished, returned to Shreveport, and is now beginning to look for distributors.

Beginning in January, though, he will teach two film courses at LSUS.

The first is "Breaking Down Film: Understanding How and Why Images Affect Us." If you want to expand your film vocabulary -- and impress your friends by correctly using terms like jump cut, continuity, crosscut, and my favorite, chiaroscuro -- this class will do the trick. Since Jeffrey just completed editing, scoring and just plain making his film, he knows what he's talking about.

The course begins Jan. 15 and will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Maybe I'll take some long lunches.) Course number is FILM 290, #008472.

The second course is "The New Hollywood: American Cinema of the Sixties and Seventies." I've seen Jeffrey's library of titles, and I don't think he'll have any trouble finding source material. Students will study flicks like "The Godfather," "Taxi Driver," "Shampoo" and "Klute."

It begins Jan. 16 and will meet Wednesdays from 6 to 8:45 p.m. Course number is FILM 290, #008471.

If you need more info, call the admissions office at (318) 797-5061 or the liberal arts college at (318) 797-5371.

PHOTO CREDIT: Director Jeffrey Goodman watches a monitor during filming on the set of "The Last Lullaby" in Shreveport. Not for reuse. Feb. 2, 2007. (Greg Pearson/The Times)

Casting call for 'Comeback' announced

A message from BAM Casting:







(318) 698-1313 OR VISIT

PHOTO CREDIT: GNS photo. Not for republication.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

'Major Movie Star' trailer is online

As a reader kindly pointed out, there's a trailer for "Major Movie Star" on the Web. Stars Jessica Simpson. Was shot here with Millennium Films, like "Blonde Ambition."

Click here to see. Likey? No likey?

Reveal the ending of 'The Mist?' That's crazy talk.

Yesterday at a press conference in New York, Stephen King gave his take on "The Mist." The new horror flick, directed and adapted for the screen by Frank Darabont, is based on King's 27-year-old novella.

"The Mist" gets released Nov. 21, and it was of course shot in Shreveport and northwest Louisiana.

You have to appreciate King's directness: "Frank wrote a new ending that I loved. It is the most shocking ending ever and there should be a law passed stating that anybody who reveals the last 5 minutes of this film should be hung from their neck until dead."

I take it he's not a fan of spoilers.

Win tickets to Monday night screening of 'The Mist!'

Win advance screening passes to "The Mist." This locally filmed thriller is based on one of Stephen King's most chilling short stories. The advance screening is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19, at Louisiana Boardwalk 14.

"The Mist" is Rated R and opens nationwide on Nov. 21. Simply complete the entry form by noon Thursday, Nov. 15, to be one of 35 winners.

Passes must be picked up at The Times by 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19.

If you win, please attend the premiere or give the passes to a friend or family member. Contest is open to adults 18 years of age or older at time of entry.

See complete contest rules at

Monday, November 12, 2007

This is one monster movie truck

Actor/stunt coordinator/second unit director Gregg Brazzel has one of the baddest camera/stunt trucks this side of Hollywood. His brand-spanking new "Black Hawk Precision Shot Vehicle" looks like it ate Optimus Prime for breakfast.

Gregg moved to Hollywood from Shreveport in 1981. He now has homes in both Zip codes and works on a lot of local projects.

Gregg wouldn't let me drive his new ride -- to be fair, I never asked and my itsy-bitsy Scion could fit in the front carriage -- but I sure wish I could have borrowed it for prom back in the day.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

'The Mist' extras photo shoot was a blockbuster

Thanks again to everyone who turned out for our "Mist" photo shoot. Here's one shot of photographer Greg Pearson trying to fit 40 to 50 folks in his lens. (I obviously couldn't do it with my camera, but he's a pro.)

We traveled up to Vivian today to shoot the photo in front of Tom's Market. The grocery store served as a model for a grocery store set built inside of StageWorks of Louisiana, a soundstage in Shreveport. (The shoot also spent a couple days in Vivian.)

Why all the fuss? The extras enjoyed a rather rare opportunity on the set of "The Mist." Many of them -- called "The Core" -- worked the entire shoot and got very cozy with cast and crew.

In "The Mist," a group of small-town folks get trapped inside the store when a supernatural fog rushes over the city. Huge bugs, monsters and terrors of all sorts force folks to choose sides, and the battle for survival basically becomes a war between believers in "The End of Days" and nonbelievers.

The stars of the film and director Frank Darabont relied heavily on The Core to create an atmosphere of conflict, fear, etc.

We'll all get to see the results on Nov. 21 when "The Mist" is released nationwide. Our coverage for the Shreveport Times will begin rolling out -- like a monstrous, inescapable mist -- very soon.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Merry Christmas, Trailer Junkies.

"The Mist": November 21, 2007 View the trailer: (This third trailer, or second link, best represents the movie)

"The Great Debaters": December 28, 2007 View the trailer:

"Mad Money": January 18, 2008 View the trailer:

"Meet the Spartans": February 1, 2008 View the trailer:

"Harold & Kumar 2": February 8, 2008 View the trailer:

"Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins" (or "The Better Man"): February 8, 2008 View the trailer:

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Photo shoot for 'The Mist' extras!

Hey "Misties and Mistesses!"

I want you for a Shreveport Times photo shoot.

I'm going to be writing a story about your experiences for the paper. My coverage will hit the streets (and the Web) a few days before the national release date: Nov. 21.

Since there are so many of you who worked on "The Mist" -- especially the core extras -- I want to invite you to a photo shoot we're holding on Sunday in Vivian. Below are the details. If you plan on coming, please RSVP by posting a comment to this post. We need to have an idea of what we're getting into! Please keep in mind this will be a group photograph.

WHAT: "The Mist" extras.
WHEN: 1 p.m. Sunday sharp (Nov. 11).
WHERE: Tom's Market, 212 N. Pine St., Vivian, La. (Google your directions.)
DRESS: wear the ordinary clothes like the ones you did on set.
PARKING: do not park directly in front of the store. Carpooling would be great! We must be careful not to interrupt the store's business, as Tom Terry has graciously agreed to host us. (Say thank you to him!)
AND ... : Extras for "The Mist" extras only, please. Don't make me get Marcia Gay Harden on your bad self!

I am also soliciting anecdotes about your experiences on the set. If you want to type up a couple graphs about your most memorable, funny, cool or boring moment, send 'em my way. Contact me at or 318.459.3256.

And I promise I'll come up with a better nickname for y'all by Sunday.

'K-Ville' crew working on last scripted show

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - While writers picket in Hollywood and New York, the impact of a strike is being felt beyond the east and west coasts.

In Louisiana, crews on the set of "K-Ville," a Fox police drama set in post-Katrina New Orleans, are filming the last episode written before the strike.

Co-star Cole Hauser says he hopes the strike ends soon.

Writers have not gone on strike since 1988, when the walkout lasted 22 weeks and cost the industry more than $500 million.

From the Associated Press.

Opening casting call for 'The Year One'

I just received the following from the Louisiana Boardwalk:

“The Year One”, a new Feature Film scheduled to shoot Mid January in Shreveport, is hosting a city wide OPEN CASTING CALL this Saturday on November 10th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00pm at the Louisiana Boardwalk.

The Year One will be directed by Harold Ramis and stars Jack Black and Michael Cera.

Actors and Extras interested in participating in the movie should come out and meet the Casting Directors with photos in hand.

For more information on “The Year One” Casting Call being held at the Louisiana Boardwalk, please call the Casting Hot Line at (267) 295-7838.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A note to the Awesomes

Thanks to all of "The Mist" extras who contacted me today. I could not return your calls and emails because I was in Dallas for a press screening of a movie you're all probably quite interested in. I wonder what it was? Hmm. My recollection is a bit foggy.

Anyhow, I'm hoping to write an assortment of stories on your horror flick, due in theaters Nov. 21.

On Thursday afternoon, I'll get in touch with everyone to see what we can work out. Again, thanks for your interest in helping. I'm sure everyone is very excited to see how "The Mist" turns out. And if there are more of you who have yet to contact me -- especially core extras who worked the entire shoot -- please don't hesitate.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Are you an awesome 'Mist' extra? Call me.

Apparently, director Frank Darabont and actress Marcia Gay Harden loved them some Shreveport extras while filming "The Mist" at StageWorks of Louisiana. I just got off a teleconference with them and they said, without prompting, that y'all were amazing.

For those of you who don't know -- Hi, Mom! -- "The Mist" unfolds largely inside a grocery store. Folks from a small Maine town flee to it when a mysterious fog shrouds their city and big bugs and tentacled things unleash a bizarre reign of terror. Inside the grocery store, the people begin to turn on one another. Marcia Gay Harden plays a Bible-quoting zealot who fears the end is nigh.


On set, Marcia and actors like Thomas Jane and Chris Owen worked hand in hand with extras to create an atmosphere of fear, distrust, worry, etc. See for yourself in this trailer. "The Mist" opens Nov. 21.

Here's Marcia: "There were these really, really amazing extras. ... There were maybe about 100 of them. They are like a Greek chorus in a play. … They began to respond to some of the things the character was saying. … They were the ones that made it easy. … They were crying and stamping their feet."

Here's Frank: "Those extras were awesome."

If you were awesome -- you know who you are -- call or email me. I want to write a story about you. (But only if you are awesome.)

And check out this super crazy fan site put together by the real, live "Mist" extras.

Here's my contact info: (318) 459-3256 or

PHOTO CREDIT: Marcia Gay Harden smiles at the crowd after winning the Oscar for best supporting actress for her role in the film "Pollock," at the 73rd annual Academy Awards ceremony Sunday, March 25, 2001 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

'The Great Debaters' trailer is on Yahoo

We now have our first glimpse of "The Great Debaters," which was made in Mansfield and northwest Louisiana during the summer. It's getting a Christmas Day release and has its first trailer. Click here to see it.

What do you think? What do you recognize? It's the Weinstein Co.'s unofficial Oscar hopeful. Does it have a shot?

Chris Jay of the Robinson Film Center pushed me to the trailer and said, "It could be the critical and financial sucess that Shreveport has been hoping for."

Chris obviously forgot "Factory Girl." :)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Yes, it's Jack Black

Alas, we know.

"The Year One," starring Jack Black and to be brought to you by producer Judd Apatow ("Knocked Up," "Superbad"), will begin shooting in Shreveport in January. News of this is super important because Sony's the backer and everyone loves Apatow.

Also confirmed is the Weinstein Co. project "Comeback," which will star Ice Cube and be directed by Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit). Also big news because Weinstein never stops making movies here.

At present, an announcement about "Void Moon" being in pre-production for Shreveport is not accurate, according to a good source. Click here for the latest Hollywood Reporter article. However, its company, Millennium Films, is getting ready to break ground on the $10.3 million studio in Shreveport's Ledbetter Heights.

(And don't worry, I'm working on a writers' strike piece. Production will remain brisk in Shreveport during the coming months.)

All this deserves some fast and furious comments action! Thoughts?

PHOTO CREDIT: Actor Jack Black poses at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles on Friday, June 9, 2006. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Monthly meetup to feature Arlena Acree

The monthly meetup for the northwest Lousiana film industry is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6. Shreveport's director of film, entertainment and media Arlena Acree will speak. Since many films are heading this way, this meeting will be a good place to gather info.

Head to Building D at Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City.

'The Year One,' 'The Comeback,' 'Void Moon' added to Shreveport's busy slate

Here's the latest info from the state's film hotline. I've bolded two new Shreveport projects:

Welcome to (225) 342-FILM, the official hotline of the Louisiana Office of Entertainment Industry Development. Here’s what’s happening for the first week of November 2007:

The Sony Studios Pictures feature film "The Year One" is in pre-production in Shreveport with shooting scheduled from January to March of 2008. Resumes for crew are currently being accepted by fax at (318) 673-9705.

The LAMP feature film "The Way of War" is in production in Baton Rouge through December 5. For casting information, please call (225) 218-0946. For all other inquiries, please call (225) 610-1600.

The Weinstein Company feature film "The Comeback" is in pre-production in Shreveport with shooting slated for December 3 through Feb. 14. All interested crew, especially those who are Louisiana residents, should fax their resumes to (318) 698-1301.

The Fixed Point Films feature film "Waking Madison" is in production in New Orleans through December 12. Resumes and inquiries can be faxed to (504) 734-2161.

The Millennium feature film "Void Moon" is in pre-production in Shreveport. Details are coming soon.

The Eleven Eleven Films feature film "Manbreak" is shooting in Shreveport through November 30. Resumes and inquiries can be faxed to (318) 682-5642.

The Weinstein Company’s feature films "Feast II" and "Feast III" are in production in Shreveport through mid-December. Resumes and inquiries can be faxed to (318) 603-4562.

The independent feature "Dirty Politics" is in production in Baton Rouge. For more information, please call (225) 274-1484.

The Ambush Entertainment feature "Wonderful World" is in production in Shreveport and will shoot through November 16. Inquiries are being accepted by fax at (318) 219-2411. For casting information please visit

The Big Sky Motion Pictures feature film "Spring Break ‘83" is in production in Hammond and New Orleans and is in need of extras between the ages of 18 and 35. Please e-mail for more information.

The Lifetime MOW "Queen Sized" is in production in Shreveport through mid-November. Inquiries can be faxed to (318) 682-5644. For casting information, please visit

The Fox Television series "K-Ville" is shooting in New Orleans through the end of November. Resumes and inquiries can be faxed to (504) 731-3199. For casting information, please call (504) 273-5202.

The Uncommon Productions feature "American Inquisition" is production in New Orleans and will shoot through November 16. For more information, please call (504) 451-2514

"Varsity Inc.," a Horizon Entertainment documentary series for ESPN is in production in West Monroe until December. For more information, call (318) 298-2746.

The feature film "Welcome to Academia" is in production in New Orleans and will shoot through November 21. Inquiries can be faxed to (504) 734-6329.

The Zydeco Productions/Disney children’s television show "The Imagination Movers" is in production in New Orleans will shoot through March of 2008. Inquiries are being accepted by fax at (504) 818-3840.

And for more information about the film and television industry in Louisiana please visit us online at

Friday, November 02, 2007

Construction of Robinson Film Center 60 percent complete

Robinson Film Center executive director John Grindley said construction of the downtown Shreveport facility is 60 percent done. They hope to finish by March 1, 2008. A grand opening gala is planned for May 3, 2008.

The 48-seat theater is taking shape very quickly. It's much deeper than it looks in this picture.

The 138-seat theater anchors the facility.

The upstairs bistro will have a balcony overhanging the Texas Street sidewalk.

It's a three-floor facility, plus a basement.

Among the last things to take shape will be the facility's facade. Expect a digital marquee and digital movie posters. You can see the balcony overhanging the sidewalk.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Will Clarke, now banned, still too cool for school

UPDATE 4:22 p.m.: It appears Will Clarke has been banned after all. According to a new article posted at, his essay "How to Kill a Boy Nobody Likes" was yanked from the classroom by the school board.

And here's another article from the Providence Journal, which presented the many points of view two days before the ban.

I just spoke with Clarke by telephone and he had this to say: "I’m a little shocked that people in this day in age are banning books."

Clarke understands how parents can find material objectionable for religious or personal reasons. His essay was labeled pornographic for "references to bestiality," in this instance.

"It's totally legitimate for them to go to the school and ask for alternate readings," Clarke said. He's dismayed by the ban, though.

The humor essay, which he wrote last year, revisits a moment in his high school life when he was very unpopular and desperately trying to get elected to the school council. He read a book on subliminal advertising, drew the word "sex" into campaign sign pictured here (look at the watchband), and won the election.

"As a writer, I feel humor is redemptive," Clarke said. "If you can look at your own miserable experience with a sense of humor, you can transform it." And as Clarke told the Providence Journal, he believes the essay is totally appropriate for high school kids.

The controversy has had a predictable consequence: sales of the essay collection are up.


ORIGINAL POST: An essay written by former Shreveporter Will Clarke recently caused a controversy in a Cumberland, R.I., school.

Clarke's "How to Kill a Boy that Nobody Likes" is based on his 1987 campaign for student council treasurer at Captain Shreve High School. The essay appears in the collection, "When I was a Loser: True Stories of (Barely) Surviving High School."

The story was assigned to an English class. Parents of one daughter apparently objected to its content because it was "pornographic." They went to a TV station with their objection. The superintendent proposed an alternate reading assignment.

Here's an excerpt from a recent article at "School Superintendent Donna Morelle acknowledged that parents of one student had met with her to discuss their objections to a story their daughter had brought home and indicated had been assigned to her by one of her teachers. According to Morelle, an agreement was reached with the parents last week that she believed had satisfied the parents, whom she said thanked her following their meeting.

"'The parents asked that their child not be required to read the assignment,' Morelle said. 'We agreed that we would propose and alternate reading (assignments).'"

As Clarke responded on his blog, "To be completely honest, the essay does explore sex in a very round about way (i.e. being a teenage male = being tormented by sex). And admittedly, I do drop some dirty words, but it's hardly Big Nasty Butts magazine or the like. Anyway, this seems to have created quite a fracas in the little towns of Pawtucket, Cumberland and Woonsocket."

In the article, the superintendent said the essay was not banned. The article reads: "Morelle said she wanted to clarify that the story is not being banned from the school or eliminated from the curriculum. The remaining students in the class will continue reading it.

"'We're not banning books or anything like that,' Morelle said. 'There's a whole set of connotations about banning books. That's not a boundary that I'm ever willing to cross.'"

Banned? No. (See update and link above.) Censored? Share your thoughts.

Two of Clarke's books, "The Worthy" and "Lord Vishnu's Love Handles," are in development for big-screen adaptations.

Screening reminder: 'In the Shadow of the Moon'

WHAT: Robinson Film Center presents "In the Shadow of the Moon."
WHEN: 7 p.m. today (Nov. 1).
WHERE: Regal Cinemas Louisiana Boardwalk Stadium 14, Bossier City.
COST: $7.50.
RESERVATIONS: Tickets may be purchased at the theater or in advance by calling RFC at (318) 424-9090.
REVIEWS: click here (Metacritic).