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Friday, April 27, 2007

News on Skeet's Latest Project

This is from the Shreveport Times and the link to the original article follows.
The blogger posting format would not allow me to break this into the original paragraphs.
NEAR CLOUTIERVILLE — Louisiana's movie industry literally buzzed April 20. Filmmakers were shooting "For Sale by Owner" outdoors at Magnolia Plantation near Cloutierville. The sound of bees hummed from a nearby live oak tree and the weathered plantation home's second floor. "I caught at least 200,000 yesterday," said beekeeper John Melder. "That's five to six pounds of them."

Director and line producer Bob Wilson didn't mind the bees, or the white paint flaking off the home's exterior walls, or the pungent smell of freshly cut grass enveloping the grounds.
"We needed something that was distressed enough to allow for restoration," Wilson said. "I looked everywhere in Shreveport."He was finally led 20 miles south of Natchitoches to Magnolia Plantation. The site will serve as the mystery-thriller's main set.
"For Sale by Owner" is about an architect who is restoring the home of America's early colonist, John Smith. In the movie, the home is set in Virginia and was burned down and reconstructed in the 1800s. The low-budget independent feature is the first project for Shreveport-based Port Pictures. It is being co-produced by Robert Duvall's Butcher's Run Films.Wilson is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker who has worked on "Ruffian," "The Year Without a Santa Claus," "Snow Wonder," and "The Madam's Family" in Louisiana. The time was right for him to become part of a Louisiana-based venture.

"It was something I have been wanting to do for a long time, to do films without any kind of studio involvement," Wilson said. "My movie is small and doesn't have the pressure of the big studio movies." The project has not secured a distributor yet, but Port Pictures hopes "For Sale by Owner" will earn a theatrical release.

The architect is played by Scott Cooper, who also wrote the script. Rounding out the cast are Kris Kristofferson, Tom Skerritt, Frankie Faison ("The Wire") and Skeet Ulrich ("Jericho").

Cooper will be on set every day. The young actor works closely with Duvall. He acted with Duvall in "Broken Trail" (2006), a western that aired on AMC, and "Gods and Generals" (2003).Duvall will produce three of Cooper's screenplays, Cooper said. "For Sale by Owner" is the first.

"To a lot of people and me, he's considered America's finest screen actor," Cooper said. "For me as his protégé, it's a dream come true."Cooper speaks to Duvall daily by phone. "We talk about the craft of acting. We talk about movies we like or dislike," Cooper said. They even talk about political and geopolitical affairs. "I count him as one of my best friends."

In shooting "For Sale by Owner," Cooper said he keeps his roles as actor and screenwriter separate."I try not to really know the text so well," Cooper said. "You want a certain sense of spontaneity. It's about learning the dialogue and then throwing it away. As the master Robert Duvall said, you start at zero and you end at zero."

"For Sale by Owner" is just the first project planned by Port Pictures."Our goal is to shoot eight movies within the next three years," said Executive Producer Rudy Hines. "This is our first movie, and we want to come out of the gate extremely strong."

Port Pictures consists of Hines, Wilson and Executive Producers Bob Vazquez and Rich Hobaica.Hines is a Benton-based real estate developer, general contractor and business entrepreneur. He declined to specify the budget of "For Sale by Owner" but agreed it was a low-budget feature film. He is one of six financial investors from Shreveport and Bossier City funding the project.
"I'm very well invested in this movie," Hines said, "but I feel very strongly about it. I feel people don't understand how profitable investing in movies can be."
Vazquez, who also is coordinating special effects for the movie, said working in northwest Louisiana is easy. He and other producers said the city of Natchitoches has been extremely helpful in getting them the services they need. When they shot a rain scene on the plantation, the city and the Fire Department had the wherewithal to bring water to their rural location, Vazquez said.
Ninety to 95 percent of the "For Sale by Owner" crew is from Louisiana. By maximizing in-state spending, the production can take advantage of the state's tax incentive program for the film industry. Production companies can claim a 25 percent tax credit by buying goods and services in Louisiana. They also can claim a 10 percent tax credit by hiring Louisiana residents.
"There really has been no greater incentive than what we have found in Louisiana," Vazquez said. "It just works."