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Posted: Monday, 13 May 2013 6:57AM

Major movie means a lot of monkey business in New Orleans



New Orleans is about to go ape over the newest film project being shot in the city.

'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' is one of the largest productions New Orleans has ever hosted.
 
And, it'll be quite an economic shot in the arm.

"We're employing 600 local residents throughout the course of production," says the film's publicist, Gregg Brilliant. "And, we've flown in about 200 visitors."

The city estimates the project will have a local economic impact of $80 million, which takes into account what the production will spend on costs such as labor.

"Those 200 visitors, of course, will be using hotels, renting apartments, utilizing goods and services, etcetera," says Brilliant.

And, he says 'Dawn' is definitely a major project. "It's a huge undertaking. It takes several months and it'll take about 143,000 man-hours."

He emphasizes those are "man hours."

"You won't, literally, see apes running around the city of New Orleans."

Brilliant says the Oscar Award winning visual effects house that did 'Avatar' and 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' will be creating the effects for this film as well.

They'll also transform New Orleans into San Francisco.

"It's movie magic," Brilliant says. "We don't have to geographically be in San Francisco. There will be a small amount of photography in San Francisco, but the bulk of the movie is being shot in New Orleans."
 
And, he says it's more than the attractive tax incentives that landed the project here.

"New Orleans also has an incredible base of talent in terms of crew and film infrastructure. It's created a base of educated, knowledgeable, hard-working crew members. So it's very attractive to make movies in New Orleans for that reason."

Brilliant says they'll be in town through July. 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' is scheduled to be released in May of 2014.

"We'd just like to thank the city and the mayor for the support. Another reason we like New Orleans is because the Film Commission and the mayor have been so accommodating in street closures and allowing us use of a variety of locations that are just fantastic for the movie, in terms of the amount of space available to us and the type of space available to us."

And Chris Stelly, with the Louisiana Office of Entertainment Industry Development, says he not surprised they'll be able to turn some of that space into San Francisco.

"I think we have the ability to double for almost any place on this earth," Stelly says. "And, with 'Ender's Game' coming out, even outer space."

'Ender's Game' was shot mostly at the Michoud Assembly Center in New Orleans East.

That's just another of the many films recently shot, or in some stage of production, in New Orleans.

Others are:

* The Fox feature film 'Devil's Due' starring Zach Gilford and Allison Miller

* The feature film 'Heat' starring Jason Statham and Sofia Vergara

* Darko Entertainment's feature film 'North of Hell' starring Katherine Heigl and Patrick Wilson

* HBO Entertainment's television series 'Untitled Detective Project' starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson

* Independent feature film 'Return to Sender' starring Rosamund Pike and Shiloh Fernandez

* Independent feature film 'Jingle Doggie'

* ABC Studios television pilot 'Reckless'

* Mandalay Pictures' feature film 'When the Game Stands Tall'

* FX television anthology 'American Horror Story: Coven'

* TV series 'Pitbulls & Parolees' Season 5

The "HollywoodSouth Blog" reports that 'Hot Tub Time Machine 2' is also being filmed in New Orleans.


Through June 24th, the following streets in New Orleans will be closed for the filming of 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes':

-100 and 200 blocks of South Rampart Street
-1000 block of Common Street
-1100 block of Tulane Avenue

In addition to the downtown street closures, parking restrictions and street closures will be in place on 500 Orange Street, 500 Market Street, 500 Richard Street and the 1500 to 1600 blocks of South Peters Street through May 24 to accommodate filming in the area.

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