A new action movie is filming in downtown Birmingham, and local film leaders say it marks a step forward for the city’s film industry.
‘Live,’ featuring Hollywood star Aaron Eckhart, began filming Tuesday morning. It’s the most recent of several movies that have chosen Birmingham in the last several months. Leaders from Create Birmingham say this one features a much bigger budget and more action than any of the others.
“We’re going to have car crashes and explosions and hovering helicopters, gun fights,” Create Birmingham president Buddy Palmer said. “So they’ll be cars rocketing out of alleyways downtown. It’s going to be fun.”
Create Birmingham works to attract films to the Magic City, and Palmer estimates that as many as 10 have chosen to shoot here since late 2017. The state’s film incentives are a big attraction, and word can spread quickly among filmmakers about what a city has to offer. That’s part of the reason for Birmingham’s recent film success.
“We’re now where we thought we might be in four or five years down the road,” Palmer said. “So it’s been like being shot out of a cannon. And it’s been an amazing amount of fun for us.”
Birmingham gets film credits when movies are shot here, and that can lead to more opportunities. Repeat business can be big, too. The producers of ‘Live’ have each shot movies here at least twice before. They chose the city over sites in Kentucky and Savannah, Georgia.
If there’s a downside, it’s the impact that filming can have on street closures – several streets are closed Tuesday (full list below). Palmer says business owners aren’t always happy initially, but they typically understand the benefit movies bring to the city.
“It’s great for business. It’s great for Birmingham. Typically one film leads to another,” Palmer said. “So it’s definitely overall a very positive thing economically. It’s just the day that your street is closed, you might not be as happy.”
‘Live’ is expected to create about 200 job opportunities – including crew members and extras – some of which can be filled locally.
Street closures Tuesday
Magic City Grill, 2201 3rd Ave. North – 6:30 a.m.
22nd St. North between 2nd Ave. North and 3rd Ave. North – 1 p.m.
1st Ave. Alley North between 22nd St. North and 23rd St. North – 1:30 p.m.
Parking lot in the 2100 block of 1st Ave. North – 4 p.m.