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Bull City to serve as movie set

The man who put the Bull in Bull City will soon be returning to rejuvenate downtown with a second take.

Durham will soon be the filming location for its 25th feature film, Main Street. The movie is set to be directed by Jon Doyle and produced by Reliant Pictures. Thom Mount, a Durham resident and CEO of Reliant Pictures, is helping lead the project. He produced the 1988 film Bull Durham.

"We're in a lot of movies, but we're just not always being ourselves," said Reyn Bowman, CEO of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Sometimes movies shoot scenes in Durham using it to look like other cites, like Los Angeles.

Detailed information about the film has not been forthcoming. In a New York Times Magazine interview last August with screenwriter Horton Foote, he described the film as focusing on "five characters in Durham who get caught up in a scheme to rejuvenate the town's economy by housing nuclear waste."

However, Bowman said early ideas in the script do not always make it to actual shooting. Mount clarified some of the confusion surrounding the film's plot.

"While there is some background story about things like waste storage, that's not exactly what the movie's about," he said. "What the movie's about is how-in tough economic times-do we make up our minds about what we're going to do for the future, how we are going to decide to take risk and how we decide to stand up and face consequences."

The ensemble film follows six disparate characters living in Durham trying to cope with hard decisions about their future, he added.

Mount suggested Foote, acclaimed for his adaptations of To Kill a Mockingbird and Tender Mercies, visit Durham for inspiration.

"One of the interesting things about Durham is that downtown Durham has been in tough economics conditions for a long time," Mount said.

Bowman, who helps coordinate filming efforts, confirmed that most of the shooting would be in or around the downtown area.

Foote began writing the screenplay about two years ago during his visit to Durham. He met with a range of Durham residents during his trip, from Mayor Bill Bell to busboys to black blues musicians.

Although he began the screenplay two years ago, it features an economically struggling Durham. The film now resonates more deeply in light of the nation's recent economic turmoil.

"Of course history caught up with us. Then [the situation] became amplified. It's an interesting collision of fact and fiction," Mount said.

Bowman said movies like Main Street bring in a large amount of cash to Durham. The producers suggested that the movie would bring somewhere between $6 and $10 million dollars to the city.

"[The film's workers] will spend money on hotels, restaurants, catering companies, small businesses involved in film work and renting spaces," he added.

Mount said filming would begin within a week or two of March 30, and there will definitely be a need for extras living or studying in Durham.


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