More movies coming to BR for filming

Two movies will begin shooting in metro Baton Rouge in early May, said the acting executive director of the Baton Rouge Film Commission.

“Search Party,” a comedy from the same production company that made the locally shot “Pitch Perfect,” will begin filming May 1 around Baton Rouge, said Liza Kelso, of the Film Commission.

The cast for “Search Party” has not been finalized, but the movie is being directed by Scot Armstrong, who wrote several hit comedies such as “Old School,” “The Hangover II” and “Road Trip.”

“The Maze Runner” will begin filming May 6 around Jackson. The movie, a science-fiction thriller in the same vein as “The Hunger Games,” is about a group of boys in a post-apocalyptic world who are trying to escape from an enormous maze.

Like “The Hunger Games,” “The Maze Runner” is based on a trilogy of books aimed at young adults.

Around the same time the new movies start shooting, Kelso said production will wrap on an upcoming four-part miniseries about Bonnie and Clyde, which will air on both the History Channel and Lifetime later this year.

And Universal Pictures has reserved space at Raleigh Studios in the Celtic Media Centre off Airline Highway through November.

However, Patrick Mulhearn, director of studio operations at Raleigh, has said that’s no guarantee a movie will be shot at the studio. Major movie studios frequently reserve space for movies that don’t get made, choosing to be safe, instead of sorry.

Kelso has been in charge of the film commission on an interim basis since February, when former Executive Director Donna Reichman stepped down. Amy Mitchell-Smith, a former Film Commission executive director, has been helping out the department on a short-term contractual basis.

The goal of the commission has been to keep a steady flow of movie productions coming into Baton Rouge.

“We scouted several projects for the late spring-early summer,” Kelso said. “Our main goal is to lock in several different things to have a revolving door of production here. We’re keeping a three-month outlook. That’s the key to keeping Baton Rouge on the map for film productions.”

On Friday, “Oblivion,” a movie that was shot at Raleigh Studios in Baton Rouge early last year, will be released.

The movie, which stars Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman, has a reported budget of $175 million. Kelso said it was a good experience to have a big-budget, high profile movie such as “Oblivion” filmed in Baton Rouge.

Along with the new movies, Film Baton Rouge has introduced a new logo and plans to launch a new website in the coming weeks. Kelso said the logo ties in with the By Baton Rouge app, which connects crews with local businesses that offer discounts to movie productions.

“With this new logo we are streamlining our branding,” she said.