Movies have a way of capturing our hearts. Taking us to places we’ve never been, meeting characters we have never met, and opening up realities we never knew could exist. Having a unique landscape and architectural style, Louisiana has had many such films come alive right here in the state. Some of these films have gained national spotlight and others are simply a product of Hollywood South. Here are 10 movies filmed in Louisiana.
This 1951 film starring none other than Vivian Leigh and Marlon Brando, is the on-screen adaptation to Tennessee Williams famous play with the same title. Set in New Orleans, mostly on Desire Street, it was only natural that the filming of the movie be in the same city. This film put Brando on the map and grossed around $4.25 million that year, making it the fifth biggest movie in 1951. In 1999, the film was made part of the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for its historical and cultural significance.
Even today, the “Steel Magnolias” house in Natchitoches can be toured and rented! The 1989 dramatic comedy starred a cast of starring ladies including Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Daryl Hannah, and Olympia Dukakis. Adapted by the play of the same name by Robert Harling in 1987, the play and film are about a band of women in a small southern town. Experiencing the death of one of their own, the film depicts how these women cope with the loss with the title of the film depicting the characters to be as delicate as a magnolia and hard as steel. Natchitoches both provided the film and scenario setting.
Set over a few centuries in New Orleans, this film adaptation of Anne Rice’s classic 1976 novel stars Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. It chronicles the two characters, Lestat and Louis, from the time Louis is turned into a vampire in 1791 when he is drunkenly stumbling around New Orleans due to the loss of his wife and daughter. Though the “interview” is held in San Francisco much of the film is still set and filmed in the boot state. Scenes are mostly from New Orleans.
Brad Pitt must really love the Crescent City. In 2008, this blockbuster hit, directed by David Fincher who also directed the famous film “Forrest Gump,” show cased the interesting story of a character named Benjamin Button. Played by Pitt, this character actually grows younger with age, being born in New Orleans as a tiny old man. The character eventually leaves the Crescent City, though finds himself back there again years later as his love, played by Cate Blanchett, returns to the city she calls home to. Filmed after Hurricane Katrina, the film is a story or rebirth and not being afraid to start anew.
Anybody who has been to Louisiana State University campus will easily recognize scenes from the 2012 film “Pitch Perfect.” The campus is quite unique. Blooming with huge oak trees and old buildings dating back to the days of Huey P. Long, it does not take long to know that much of this film, which depicts an all-girl national a cappella competition for students at Bard’s University, is set in Baton Rouge. It is the second highest grossing music comedy behind “School of Rock.”
Though filmmakers went to elaborate lengths to disguise the town as a generic city, the filming of this movie took place in the town of Metairie in Jefferson Parish. Being right outside of Orleans parish, much of the charm of the city is apparent in the town. Even though they used tricks to do things like remove the Zatarain’s logo from a billboard, signs of the Crescent City like the French Quarter and the Crescent City Connection, can be glimpsed in the film. Being about two cops played by Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum who are assigned to infiltrate a drug operation at a high school, most of the film was shot at Riverdale High School in Jefferson Parish.
Based on the 1853 Solomon Northup memoire, this film was largely based and filmed in Louisiana. The main character, Solomon, was a free born carpenter and violinist in the state of New York, but was tricked into being captured by two carnival men who sold him into slavery in the south. Though having had several owners, his cruelest and longest residence came on the banks of the Red River in North Louisiana on Edwin Epp’s plantation. Most of the filming was done in and around New Orleans using sites such as Felicity, Bocage, Magnolia, and Destrehan Plantations. Other filing was done at the Columns Hotel and in the French Quarter.
Mainly shot in studios in both Baton Rouge and New Orleans, this film is part of the “Twilight” series that was so popular. In this part of the series the character of Bella played by Kristen Stewart, is fully transformed, as a vampire though is unaware of changes in the coven. Many of the winter scenes were also shot in Vancouver.
A film adaptation of the 1946 Pulitzer Prize novel of the same name by Robert Penn Warren, all the work was done in Louisiana for this movie. It is a story based on the life of Willie Stark (Sean Penn) who starts as a small-town lawyer and rises to be the governor, using any means necessary for success. Though Stark is a fictional character, he is largely taken from the life of the late Louisiana Governor and U.S. Senator Huey P. Long. Long served in office from 1928-1935 when he was assassinated in the hallways of the Louisiana State Capitol as he started to make national waves and some even argue a run for the presidency in upcoming years. The film was set in the 1950s though the novel was set during the Great Depression around when Long was in office. Locations include Donaldsonville, New Orleans, Morgan City and Baton Rouge. Other stars in the movie were Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, Kate Winslet, James Gandolfini, and Mark Ruffalo.
This 2006 Academy Award-winning film portraying the life of legendary recording artist Ray Charles had many film locations though most of them were set in the Crescent City. Many scenes portraying historic performances were done in local theatres such as the Saenger, Civic and Orpheum Theatres. However, other scenes such as in the beginning of the film when Ray is seen in his meager upbringing were filmed in old, tiny towns like Laurel Valley. Other New Orleans novelties include the airport and the Fairmont Hotel and F&M’s Patio Bar.