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Posted: Monday, 20 January 2014 6:12AM

Stars continue to shine on Hollywood South in 2014

All the buzz in Hollywood recently has been about the awards handed out by various groups and, of course, the Oscar nominations.

But Hollywood South, while basking in the success of its movie productions of the past year, is not resting on its movie laurels.

Katie Williams, Director of Film New Orleans with the Mayor's Office of Cultural Economy, says the city is looking forward to another banner year. 

"It's going to be a really exciting Spring for us in New Orleans," Williams says. "We have at least eight projects currently prepping to start."

And, those projects will be bringing in a lot of big names.

"There's a couple of Warner Bros. projects," says Williams. "One, starring Will Ferrell, called 'Get Hard'...another one, 'The D Train,' starring Jack Black."

"And, a couple of smaller independents...'Mississippi Grind,' starring Ryan Reynolds and 'Midnight Special,' starring Kirsten Dunst. Also, I think there'll be some great announcements coming later in the year for some things that are just going to be a great step forward for us as a city and a film destination."

The state's film office recently confirmed that 'Terminator: Genesis,' is coming to New Orleans, and that'll bring Arnold Schwarzenegger to town. The fifth film in the sci-fi action franchise will be directed by filmmaker Alan Taylor, who also did 'Thor: The Dark World.' Principal photography is set to run from April 21 to August 1st.

The state has a number of major franchises set to shoot in coming months. 'The Fantastic Four' will begin shooting March 24th in Baton Rouge, and 'Jurassic World' is expected to shoot in early June, likely in New Orleans.

Other projects scheduled to shoot in New Orleans soon are the independent films 'Cat Run 2' and 'Wraith.' The Itaca Films feature 'Mind Puppet' will shoot in March.

Just as important to the New Orleans entertainment industry, though, are the television projects.

"We're really excited to have Animal Planet's 'Pit Bulls and Parolees' back again for their sixth season," says Williams. "It's a great show...they film all over the city and do great work in our community."

"And, 'American Horror Story' has been a great win for us as a city," she says. "It's gotten such acclaimed response from the critics and from fans...it's a big hit."

The repertory cast of 'Horror Story' has received raves, particularly Jessica Lange who received the Emmy Award, the Golden Globe Award, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance. And, the series draws consistently high ratings for the FX network.

Of course, the Academy Awards are on the minds of the local film folk, as well.

"We're so excited for the Oscars and to see how '12 Years a Slave' and 'Dallas Buyer's Club' come out," Williams says. "I mean, between Best Picture nominees, as well as various Supporting and Best Actor and Actresses Awards...it's definitely a great time for New Orleanians to tune in and be proud of their home state."

Film New Orleans is proud of what the city has provided, and how it demonstrated its capabilities.

"When you think in terms of a project as well-received and, just amazing, as '12 Years a Slave'...and it being a period piece...that alone really shows the world what New Orleans can do and what we can accomplish from a location standpoint."

A couple of movies shot in New Orleans will be coming out this summer.

'22 Jump Street,' the sequel to '21 Jump Street,' which was also filmed here in New Orleans will hit theaters on June 13th. And, 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' will be out on July 11th.

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