AMITE--2 Guns is back in Amite to film the action thriller the nights of Aug. 14-15
Star Bill Paxton will be back.
He'll be acting as a cop in these locations:
--Amite Livestock Auction Barn, south on US 51. It will shift from steers to stars for the second time in three weeks.
--the Amite Chamber of Commerce, still set up as an Amite City, Texas bank. A night time scene.
--neighborhood residential driveways around Oak Forest Academy on the west side of Amite. Probably two driveways, not on school property.
It looks like an all-nighter Wednesday night.
"This will be their last filming in Louisiana," said Chamber manager Ashley Adamson. "Then they go to New Mexico."
And when will we see 2 Guns on the big screen? Nothing is concrete in Hollywood in post-production. The earliest date would be March or Easter. Stay tuned. The Paper Boy, shot in Amite and in the Amite Tangi Digest offices last December, will debut in a limited release on Oct. 5. You can watch a trailer at the movie site imdb.com. Adults only.
"Bill Paxton is playing a sometime DA," said Ashley Adamson.
"A detective?" asks son Liam. "When me and Daddy saw him, he had a gun on."
"Just because he has a gun on doesn't mean he's a good guy," says mom Ashley during our interview. Son Liam has a favorite photograph with actor Bill Paxton. He is a second grader at Amite Elementary School. An actor to be? He wants to be a weatherman. "Channel 9."
The Amite Chamber office still looks like a West Texas bank. Crews completed small finishing touches Tuesday around 3 p.m. in preparation for the following night's filming. They're back at 8 a.m.
Ashley Adamson says they'll film a night scene at the bank. Filming could go until dawn or around 5 a.m.
Amite Police Chief Jerry Trabona plans to provide the eight officers that the 2 Guns crew asked for from 10 p.m. Wednesday night to 6 a.m. Thursday. Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Deputies will provide security at the auction barn. "They'll need fewer officers there," said Trabona.
"They told me they weren't closing down any streets," said Ashley Adamson.
Chamber manager Ashley and her husband Chamber president Jeremy and the Amite Chamber board want to figure the economic impact of 2 Guns. Its budget has been estimated widely from $70 million to $90 million. In Tinsel Town, nearly everyone spends more than they planned.
That's why a 2 Guns crew member came in to The Boston Restaurant one recent Thursday and doubled the sushi order from the previous night. From 500 pieces of sushi to 1000. Oh yes, we want that by 5. Today.
The Chamber folks have been promised financial stats from the filmmakers after the shooting is complete.
Some movie dollar figures in Amite are huge.
After this week, volunteer police officers have helped 2 Guns security for 288 hours, at $50/hour, payable to each officer. That is $14,400 or so that officers earned directly from the movie producers. This does not include Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Deputies.
2 Guns paid $9000 to use the Amite Police Station, radio room, jail and coffee room during more than a week of filming. That goes to the city of Amite, according to Chief Trabona. So does some of the sales tax on this spending.
2 Guns paid about $70,000 to lease Weldon Russell's Real Estate office for about ten weeks. Mama Maybelle's Diner set has been completely removed the the historic "blue house" that sits along the tracks at East Oak Street. The word is he's been in London.
Thousands of dollars of new wood, roofing, planks, studs and electrical equipment is staying local, according to location manager Mark Welch of New Orleans. Local folks picked it up after the movie contractors took down the structure, built in three weeks and destroyed in two days. The wood in your neighbor's shed may have been part of Denzel Washington's movie set.
What about the vintage looking signs, Mama Maybelle's Diner, last seen at the dumpster on SE Central at 5 p.m. July 31? We're on the case. BOLO.
And Mark Welch, one of the movie's biggest goodwill ambassadors?
The Gadsden, Ala. native and New Orleans resident left the Amite movie set for his wedding in the Florida Panhandle, and 200 guests. More than the cast and crew of 175 that he left behind in Amite.
And Mark Wahlberg? On Aug. 14, he took a ribbing from Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson for "2 Fingers." It was a re-run.
Wahlberg told a story about taking his young sons to the movies with plenty of popcorn--and cola cups. "I sit in the back row. I let them pee in the cups. I'm not going to let them have an accident. They won't go when the Avenger is on."
Ferguson: "You've come a long way. You're a movie star. You should take your kids to the bathroom!"
"I think things are almost back to normal," says Ashley Adamson. Only about two businesses await restoration to their pre-2 Guns look. A security guard still stands near the Weldon Russell office Tuesday night, with a portable toilet standing by.
"I can't wait to get back to normal myself," says Ashley.
The Amite Chamber office still looks like a 1980s bank inside. As you enter the double glass doors, three teller windows greet you on both sides. Real mahogany, faux marble counter tops. Hanging lamps your mother would remember. Desks for plenty of bank VPs. Smells like old money.
Overpowering the east end of the bank office is a huge safe. Don't be fooled. The safe door is made of wood, covered by stainless steel. Built to last--until the movie is shot.
Hollywood-commissioned carpenters built a whole new walk-in safe for 2 Guns. And they covered, temporarily, the existing walk-in safe already in the Chamber office, left many years ago when First Guaranty Bank vacated the building and moved next door.
Will the Hollywood safe keep stars Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg out? They rob the bank, clad in clown masks. They fled in a vintage black Ford Bronco. Stay tuned.
Ashley, Jeremy and the Amite Chamber board hope to keep three of the imposing bank teller windows on the left. "That's the north side, Mom," says Liam.
The other three teller stations will be removed by 2 Guns crew. The classic metal pattern ceiling uncovered by movie carpenters? TBD.
The Chamber's historic glass display cases with Amite artifacts have been donated to the Historic Royal Hotel/Tangipahoa Hotel Cultural Center. Including the cotton gin relics. A block away on Northeast Central Ave.
The movie is built around a graphic novel written by Steven Grant. Mark Wahlberg plays a Navy SEAL, part of the US military's most enduring and secretive teams. Denzel Washington plays a DEA agent. Both are undercover. They investigate each other--and as you may guess--neither character knows that the other has a cover.
Both characters put the clues together and figure that the mob--Mexican drug lord?--is playing them.
Wahlberg and Washington think they have been stealing money from the mob, which has tricked the pair into stealing $81 million from the CIA.
"The mismatched pair must eventually learn to trust each other and work together to dig to the truth of the matter and survive," says Variety.
How does Chief Trabona sum up the movie experience?
"I knew their lines before they left," says the veteran police chief. "They said them over and over and over."
"They came in here in masks," he says.
"They" are, of course, Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington, bank robbers, secret agents, daredevils.
"The police chief walks out of the coffee room, sees them and says: What the hell's going on?"
"They're coming down the hall with their guns," he says. "We're going to lock you up." The movie's police chief--is it actor Bill Paxton in real life?--are locked in their own jail cell. "They locked up the chief and two in the radio room. One was Spud," says Chief Trabona.
Amite's real life police chief had a clue that Gonzales native, actor and radio commentator Spud McConnell would be starring here in 2 Guns. "He's gonna play a police officer," Chief Trabona revealed to the Amite Tangi Digest in June. The clue? "He needs a 20-inch in the neck shirt."
Chief Trabona rented 2 Guns crew APD uniforms, APD police cars, his APD office and jail. They put up a new sign. After all, this action movie is supposed to be in Amite City, Texas.
"This was an easy $9000 for the city. They didn't move a thing," he says.
"I think people liked coming out here, standing on the corner, watching for movie stars. Now they're doing this night shoot this week. I don't know how many are going to come out and watch at 6 a.m."
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