Local News

Hollywood bringing fame, fortune to Durham

Posted February 3, 2009 12:34 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— 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.

"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."