BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Birmingham movie business has been booming this year, from the sci-fi film “The Shift” that shot in the Magic City in February to the action thriller “Gunner” starring Morgan Freeman that wrapped last month.
Now, Matthew McConaughey’s new crime thriller “The Rivals of Amziah King” is set to start filming here on June 12.
McConaughey plays the titular role in the film that takes place in rural Oklahoma.
While a lot of the details and plot are still under wraps, CBS42 spoke to Film Birmingham about what they could share. Turns out, the film is going to be “alright, alright, alright” for Birmingham businesses.
“It’s really exciting,” said Jessica Moody, director of programs and operations for Create Birmingham and Film Birmingham.
Moody said crew members have already been in town for months, looking for rental homes for talent and scouting locations like rivers and schools across Central Alabama.
“Film is a huge economic driver for the county and the region … 60% of the film’s budget will be spent on location,” Moody said.
From the seven-week film shoot, she estimates an $8 million impact locally. So far this year, Birmingham has seen a total of around $35 million worth of movie productions.
“People that come into town love these other fun experiences, and they’ll spend money locally … One of the producers has eaten at Automatic Seafood four days a week,” Moody said.
Alabama’s large tax incentives make it an attractive place for Hollywood producers, along with its central location, proximity to film epicenter Atlanta, and diverse geography.
The film is also looking to employ local talent. Southeastern casting agency Goleman Casting is currently on the hunt for background actors/ extras on their Facebook page.
CBS42 entertainment reporter Jimmy Carter, who’s covered the film business, pointed out Alabama has a storied history of film shoots.
“Tuscaloosa is still talking about the day Burt Reynolds came in, and they blew up the Northington campus smokestacks … People in Opelika, Alabama, are still talking about when Sally Field – she won an Oscar for her performance of Norma Rae – that was shot in an abandoned mill over there,” Carter said.
He hopes this production will only inspire more to come.
“It’s good for PR,” Carter said.
If you’d like to get involved behind the scenes or you have a place that could be a good location, head to the Film Birmingham website.