Texas Production Dispatch: December 2012
Welcome to Texas Production Dispatch, a new monthly(ish) column from Ryan Long with updates about various film and TV productions in the Lone Star State, particularly Austin.
What do Nicolas Cage, Jessica Alba, Robert Duvall, Paul Giamatti, Paul Rudd, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Ryan Gosling and Michael Fassbender all have in common? They all were (or soon will be) shooting films in Texas. The last few months have seen a flurry of activity, with numerous television shows and feature films shooting across the state, with more great projects on the horizon.
Feature films have been in full swing with some iconic Texas filmmakers shooting their latest movies on their home turf.
- The suddenly prolific Terrence Malick has assembled an all-star cast for his as-yet-untitled Austin music film starring Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender and Natalie Portman.
- Robert Rodriguez is in post-production on Machete Kills, starring such notables as Charlie Sheen, Jessica Alba, Mel Gibson and of course Danny Trejo.
- Speaking of Rodriguez, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is currently in production in the Austin area, not in New Orleans as originally planned. The original cast has returned for the second installment of the Frank Miller-penned project: Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Clive Owen and Jaime King.
- Parkland, starring Billy Bob Thornton and Paul Giamatti, is set to begin production in Austin in the next few weeks. The project is financed by Tom Hanks' Playtone production company. The story revolves around the chaotic events that occurred at Dallas' Parkland Hospital on the day U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The production plans to turn the newly vacated National Guard Armory into a mock-up of the original hospital.
On the independent front:
- Producer Suzanne Weinert is preparing to shoot Lost in Austin in February with Parker Posey as the lead, and yes! it's actually shooting in Austin.
- Bryan Poyser recently completed The Bounceback (production photo at top) with Sara Paxton and Michael Stahl-David.
- David Gordon Green's Prince Avalanche (Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch) was a fixture in Bastrop, and was recently tapped for its premiere at Sundance next month. Green is currently in Austin shooting Joe, starring none other than Nicolas Cage.
And there's some TV production news as well:
- The Lying Game is continuing its residency at Austin Studios, having just completed the first 10 episodes of season two. The ABC Family series has now shot a total of 31 episodes in Austin since the summer of 2011, with season two set to debut in early January.
- The success of The Lying Game has paved the way for other television pilots, namely TNT's Trooper starring Mira Sorvino, and NBC's Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives. Trooper, the latest product from Jerry Bruckheimer Television, was originally conceived as a TV movie, but was subsequently re-cast, and reshot as a TV pilot, with Austin doubling as Niagara Falls.
- Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives, also a product of Jerry Bruckheimer Television, is based on the bestselling book, with the production officing out of the newly vacated National Guard Armory. The Armory, currently the property of the City of Austin, will soon become part of Austin Studios in early 2013, dramatically expanding the amount of production and office space available for TV and film.
Around the state, other major projects are underway. El Paso recently hosted a pilot from FX called The Bridge, centering around a Juarez police detective (Demián Bichir) and his counterpart across the border (Diane Kruger). And Bill Wittliff's latest project just wrapped in Brownsville, A Night in Old Mexico, starring the venerable Robert Duvall.
[Photo credit: The Bounceback shooting at the airport, via the site's Facebook page]