Local News

Hollywood bringing fame, fortune to Durham

Posted February 3, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— The Bull City will once again provide a setting for the silver screen.

Filming for “Main Street” is set to begin March 16 and last several weeks, said Reyn Bowman, president of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau. He said the movie will be shot in several locations in and around downtown.

"They've been all over Durham looking at locations, and they are all set to come in here and start filming," Bowman said.

Downtown Durham Downtown Durham to go Hollywood again

"Main Street" centers on "a diverse group of residents of a small, economically moribund American city facing the consequences of change," according to Variety.

Durham native Thom Mount, who produced "Bull Durham" in 1988, is one of the producers for the film. He declined to discuss the plot, saying only it would be about people facing tough economic times and their decisions.

Horton Foote wrote "Main Street" after a visit to Durham two years ago. Foote, 93, won Oscars for adapting Harper Lee's acclaimed novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" for the 1962 movie of the same name and for writing the screenplay for the 1983 movie "Tender Mercies."

British theater director John Doyle has agreed to direct the film. He won a Tony Award in 2006 for "Sweeney Todd" and was nominated for another Tony for "Company."

Aaron Syrett, director of the North Carolina Film Office, estimated filming would create about 300 temporary jobs for acting extras and film crew members. Bowman said that would translate into $6 million to $10 million in local spending, which he said would help offset the 5 to 6 percent decline in tourism dollars the city has experienced during the recession.

Kelli Cotter, who owns Toast, a restaurant on West Main Street, said she hopes to get a piece of the fortune – if not the fame – the movie will bring to Durham.

"I would hope that maybe some of the production crew and maybe some famous people might eat here, which would be really fun of course," Cotter said. "I'm very excited. I think it's really exciting news."

In the last 30 years, more than 800 films and 15 television series have shot on location in North Carolina, including 24 movies in Durham. In addition to "Bull Durham," films shot in the city include "Billy Bathgate" and "Kiss the Girls."


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  • 68_polara Feb 4, 2009

    Your right OLD PIRATE 2. Duke's contribution to this town really seems to be taken for granted by the citizens of Durham.

  • Hammerhead Feb 4, 2009

    Moribund is exactly what Durham is not these days. Not surprising that those who had to actually look it up have the opinion they do.

  • foetine Feb 3, 2009

    Maybe Durham will be able to get "The Wire Babies" project

  • OLD PIRATE 2 Feb 3, 2009

    Glad to see the revenue coming in but don't forget that it doesn't take many Duke games to equal this.

  • Carolina Girl 99 Feb 3, 2009

    For all of you haters it is just the set for a movie. The city of Durham has lots of character and is no way dead. Durham is not a bad place. I have lived here for 27 year and only had good experiences.

  • scarletindurham Feb 3, 2009

    aw, they changed the headline. Spoil sports.

  • Bartmansan Feb 3, 2009

    Definition of moribund; (From Merriam-Webster)

    Function: adjective
    Etymology: Latin moribundus, from mori to die — more at murder
    Date: circa 1721

    1 : being in the state of dying : approaching death
    2 : being in a state of inactivity or obsolescence

    I had to look it up...I wasn't familiar with this word. Fits Durham to a tee!

  • pleshy Feb 3, 2009

    I thought the title of this article was an excellent pun. I nearly spit my drink n my keyboard

  • Hammerhead Feb 3, 2009

    The area around my hometown in SE Wisconsin was used to portray the French countryside in a movie because of all the 100 year old whitestone and mortar farm buildings that were still standing. They were built by European immigrants.

  • Hammerhead Feb 3, 2009

    ignc, for those of you who are functionally pessimistic, I think it's because there are still a lot of old buildings in Durham that could cast perfectly.