Kurt Russell is joining the New Orleans cast of director Peter Berg's drama "Deepwater Horizon," and "Maze Runner" actor Dylan O'Brien might not be too far behind, according to online reports. Russell and O'Brien would join previously announced cast member Mark Wahlberg in the film, which will focus on the deadly 2010 oil-rig explosion that lead to the BP oil spill.

O'Brien would play Caleb Holloway, the youngest member of the surviving crew, according to Deadline, which first reported his casting talks Friday afternoon (April 10). Russell's involvement was reported about an hour later by Variety, although it's unclear what part he would play.

Based on a script by Matthew Michael Carnahan -- which in turn is based on The New York Times article "Deepwater Horizon's Final Hour" -- Berg's film will focus on the chain of events playing out in the hours leading up to the massive oil-rig explosion of April 20, 2010. Eleven members of the rig's crew were killed in the aftermath of the explosion, 17 others were injured, and an estimated 3.19 million barrels of oil -- or about 133.9 million gallons -- were loosed into the Gulf of Mexico.

Berg's film, which is shooting under the working title "The Long Night," aims to put the focus squarely on the human drama of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy.

"I want to make a film about people," Berg said last month in an extended interview about the film."... Everybody knows that there was a horrible environmental disaster. Everybody knows that a lot of animals were killed. But what people don't know is 11 men were killed and many more were injured, and there were some real heroes on that rig. That was a very compelling human story -- and that's the story we all want to tell."

Lionsgate, Participant Media and Lorenzo di Bonaventura are producing "Deepwater Horizon" for Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment shingle. Principal photography is expected to start in May and last for nearly three months. The movie is scheduled for theatrical release on Sept. 30, 2016.

"Kurt Russell joining 'Deepwater Horizon' cast; Dylan O'Brien in talks, reports say." Nola.com | The Times Picayune. Mike Scott. Web. 11 April 2015.  ‹http://www.nola.com/movies/index.ssf/2015/04/kurt_russell_deepwater_horizon.html›.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – The new numbers and statistics are in! The film industry is growing every year in Hollywood South and according to the President of Louisiana Film Entertainment Association, William French, we are getting to where we need to be. French also says that Hollywood South ranks number one for films shooting in North America.

Watch the raw video of the interview with French above.

To support the film industry in Hollywood South, and where you can write a message to Governor Bobby Jindal, state senators, and state representatives explaining how the entertainment industry has affected you.  Click HERE.

"Economic Impact In Hollywood South." WGNO. Jabari Thomas. Web. 12 April 2015. ‹http://wgno.com/2015/04/12/economic-impact-of-hollywood-south/›.

Willem Dafoe To Star In ‘Hunter Killer’ Thriller For Relativity

EXCLUSIVE: Willem Dafoe is joining Gerard Butler, Billy Bob Thornton and Common for Relativity Studios’ submarine thriller Hunter Killer. The film concerns a renegade Russian military leader whose actions lead to the brink of war with the U.S. It’s then up to an elite U.S. Navy unit to stop him from causing World War III. Dafoe has been cast as Russian submarine Capt. Andropoyov.

Martin Campbell (Casino RoyaleGreen Lantern) directs from a script by Peter Craig, based on the novel Firing Point by George Wallace and Don Keith. Produced by Original Films’ Neil Moritz and Toby Jaffe, in association with Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh, it’s executive produced by Tucker Tooley, Arne Schmidt, and Butler. Hunter Killer is scheduled to begin filming in New Orleans in July.

Dafoe will next be seen in alongside Matt Damon in The Great Wall, directed by Zhang Yimou. He’s repped by CAA and Circle of Confusion.

Willem Dafoe To Star In ‘Hunter Killer’ Thriller For Relativity." deadline.com.  Ross A. Lincoln. Web. 10 April 2015. ‹http://deadline.com/2015/04/willem-dafoe-hunter-killer-submarine-movie-1201408020/›. 

"The Film Festival at French Quarter Festival," presented by local film organization Timecode:NOLA, brings three days worth of free screenings to Le Petite Theatre, 616 St. Peter Street. All the films spotlight New Orleans music and culture. Here's the full schedule, complete with festival-supplied descriptions:

Friday, April 10

11:00 a.m. — Buckwheat’s World. A behind-the-scenes peek at the life and music of Buckwheat Zydeco.

12 noon — Streetcar Stories. Broadcast documentary explores the cultural history of New Orleans streetcars and the US streetcar industry.

1:30 p.m. Always for Pleasure. Les Blank's classic documentary celebration of the Mardi Gras.

3:00 p.m. All on a Mardi Gras Day. The story of New Orleans’ black carnival traditions: the Zulus, Indians, Baby Dolls, Skeletons and the men and women who carried on these traditions for over a century. 

Saturday, April 11

11:00 a.m. Spend it All. Portrait of the Cajun lifestyle in Southwest Louisiana.

12:30 p.m. Fats Domino: Walkin’ Back To New Orleans. A one-hour documentary and concert special that combines interviews, vintage footage, and a recent concert taped at Tipitina’s.

2:00 p.m. He’s the Prettiest: A Salute to Big Chief Allison “Tootie” Montana’s 50 Years of Mardi Gras Indian Suiting. A documentary chronicling Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief Allison “Tootie” Montana.

3:00 p.m. Real New Orleans. This series of humorous videos was written by and starred the late Eddie Kurtz in the 1980s.

Sunday, April 12

11:00 a.m. This Cat Can Play Anything. A portrayal of the life and musical career of New Orleans banjo and guitar jazzman Emanuel "Manny" Sayles.

12:00 p.m. Louisiana Music Video Showcase. Various music videos from such artists as Preservation Hall Band, the Bingo Show, Timothea and more.

1:30 p.m. A Tribute to Toussaint. A concert documentary film celebrating the musical career of Allen Toussaint.

3:00 p.m. Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans. A tale of hope, heartbreak and resiliency set in New Orleans’ most fascinating neighborhood.

SOURCE: "French Quarter Fest includes free film screenings at Le Petit Theatre." Gambit. Ken Korman. Web. 9 April 2015. ‹http://www.bestofneworleans.com/blogofneworleans/archives/2015/04/09/french-quarter-fest-includes-free-film-screenings-at-le-petite-theatre›. 
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The success of the Louisiana film industry cannot be argued. Its impact, however, may be up for debate.The success of the Louisiana film industry cannot be argued. Its impact, however may be uA state sponsored economic impact study said that in 2013 the film industry brought in around $1.2 billion in sales and generated more than 13,000 direct and indirect jobs.

However, a new study sponsored by the Louisiana Film Entertainment Association and the Motion Pictures Association of America puts those numbers closer to nearly $4 billion in sales and more than 33,000 jobs.

While the studies vary in their methodology, their biggest difference comes down to tourism.

Unlike the previous study, the LFEA's study attempted to calculate the economic impact films had through tourism. The study surveyed nearly 1,400 tourist to Louisiana. More than 14 percent of those said they visited the state because of what they saw on the big screen.

According to study author, Shuprotim Bhaumik, tourism generated by the big screen generated more than $2 billion in economic output. Bhaumik also pointed out that the state still just breaks even on the investments, earning by his calculations about a dollar back for every dollar spent.

Industry insiders say the new study illustrates the rippling benefits of the state film tax credits.

"It's a little more difficult when you start looking at the economic multipliers and the bigger picture, which is the film industry is generating jobs that don't get studied, and nobody really takes into account the effect it takes on tourism," said Patrick Mulhearn of Celtic Media.

Mulhearn says he is not surprised at what he calls an amazing impact of film on tourism. He recalls that when Twilight was filming in Baton Rouge, fans from as far away as France would come to the studio's gates hoping to spot a celebrity.

Mulhearn is also hoping the study has an impact on lawmakers who will be considering several bills to change or adjust the film tax credits.

Senator JP Morrell has proposed a bills to cap the credits at $300 million a year.

"By putting caps in place to know how much could be out there and called in in a given year, the legislature can budget around it, creating predictability and know it's not going to create a budget crisis," said Morrell.

The state's study can be reviewed here, and the industry's study can be reviewed here.

Copyright 2015 WAFB. All rights reserved.

"New study looks at tourism, economic impact of Hollywood South" WAFB. Elizabeth Vowell. Web. 6 April 2015. ‹http://www.wafb.com/story/28735113/new-study-looks-at-the-tourism-economic-impact-of-hollywood-south›. 

With the summer movie season fast approaching, moviegoers around the world can soon expect to get an eyeful of Louisiana, whether they realize it or not. Among the season’s blockbusters-in-waiting that were shot in-state: “Pitch Perfect 2,” “Jurassic World,” “Terminator: Genisys” and “The Fantastic Four.” But while those certainly represent some of the year’s higher-profile Louisiana-shot films, the local film industry hasn’t exactly been absent from theaters through the first quarter of 2015. Here’s an updated Hollywood South scorecard, which takes a look at how local movies have fared so far this year.

The gist: Anthony Hopkins stars in a true-life crime drama, shot partly in New Orleans, about the kidnapping and ransom of beer magnate Freddy Heineken. Released March 6.

The reception: Director Daniel Alfredson’s film was released in theaters the same day it landed on various on-demand platforms, which suggests a certain lack of confidence on the part of distributor Alchemy. It was warranted, as it holds a lowly 21 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The box office: Unavailable.

5. 'THE LOFT.'
The gist: James Marsden stars in a remake of the Dutch thriller of the same name, about a group of friends who find themselves at the center of a bloody crime when a body turns up in the secret apartment they share for elicit affairs. Released Jan. 30.

The reception: After seeing its release delayed not just by months but by years, not to mention a mid-stream switch in distributors, moviegoers were justified in approaching with caution. Director Erik Van Looy’s film is the worst-reviewed film on this list. RottenTomatoes score: 13 percent. 

The box office: $6 million (North America)*.

* Box office figures via BoxOfficeMojo.

The gist: Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry and Clark Duke reteam for a sequel to the R-rated goofball comedy -- shot, and set, in New Orleans -- about a group of dummies who wreak havoc with a time machine. Released Feb. 20.

The reception: Unlike the 2010 initial installment -- which had the added benefit of John Cusack in the cast and no small amount of 1980s referential humor -- critics weren’t charmed by this follow-up, slapping it with a lowly 16 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.(Read my “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” review here.)

The box office: $12.3 million (North America).

The gist: Kevin Costner stars in a race drama, set in Los Angeles but shot in New Orleans under the title “Black and White,” about a grieving widower who becomes embroiled in a custody fight over his mixed-race granddaughter. Released Jan. 30.

The reception: Reviews were decidedly mixed, with praise for its willingness to raise serious questions but criticism for not exploring them deeply enough. Rotten Tomatoes score: 37 percent. (Read my “Black or White” review here.)

The box office: $21 million (North America).

2. 'GET HARD.'
The gist: Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart star in a race comedy -- also set in Los Angeles but shot in New Orleans -- about a clueless investment banker who hires the nearest black guy to prepare him for a stint in prison. Released March 27.

The reception: Director Etan Cohen’s film was unfairly labeled as racist and homophobic upon its premiere at SXSW, but critics didn’t have nearly as big a problem with the film’s willfully offensive content as they did with the fact that it just wasn’t funny enough (Read my “Get Hard” review here).The box office: $57 million domestically, with another $10.3 million internationally*.

* Figures are incomplete, as “Get Hard” is still playing in theaters.

1. 'FOCUS.'
The gist: Will Smith stars in a romantic caper comedy, partly shot and set in New Orleans, about a con man who breaks the cardinal rule of the grifting game: He falls in love.

The reception: Reviews were mixed but leaning toward positive, with many critics noting the on-screen chemistry shared by Smith and co-star Margot Robbie. Rotten Tomatoes score: 55 percent. (Read my “Focus” review here.)

The box office: $52 million domestically, with another $91 million internationally.

"Hollywood South Scorecard." The Times Picayune. Mike Scott. Web. 7 April 2015. 2015. ‹http://www.nola.com/movies/index.ssf/2015/04/hollywood_south_scorecard_what.html#0›. 

There’s a lot of discussion in Baton Rouge about the entertainment industry’s tax incentives and if the state is getting a return on its investments. The Louisiana Film Entertainment Association is asking the public to voice its opinion on the matter. The association set up a form where the public can write a message to Governor Bobby Jindal, state senators, and state representatives explaining how the entertainment industry has affected them.

According to a study released in 2014, Louisiana took the crown for the world’s production capital pushing aside California and New York.  The study pointed to the sheer amount of films shot in Louisiana. Eighteen of the 108 films released in 2013 were shot in the Bayou State.

Filming in Hollywood South:

Two successful HBO shows were shot in Louisiana — “Treme” and “True Detective,” now they’re launching another show called, “Quarry,” which will air on Cinemax. “Lawless” and “The Road” director John Hillcoat will take on the project set to star Stellan Skarsgard and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Production started last week (April, 1) in New Orleans.

Making history Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins will work opposite each other for the first time in their new film, “Beyond Deceit,” which started rolling in New Orleans last week.

Other films shooting in Hollywood South:

“The American Can,” starring Will Smith.

“Scream Queens,”  starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Lea Michele, Emma Roberts, Nick Jonas, and Ariana Grande — just to name a few.

“The Long Night” starring Mark Wahlberg.

Movies shot in Hollywood South that’s in theaters now:

“Focus,” starring will smith.
“Get Hard,” starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart.

"Should Hollywood South stay in Louisiana." WGNO. WGNO Web Desk and Jabari Thomas. Web. 3 April 2015. Updated 6 April 2015. ‹http://wgno.com/2015/04/03/hollywood-south-news-with-jabari-thomas-ep-2/›. 
Madeline Zerbe. Photography by German Roque.
We caught up with JRP New Orleans Model Madeline Zerbe as she prepares for her big trip to Asia. 

Madeline attended our open model casting call back in October 2013. She had no previous model experience, only a dream and a passion for modeling. She won our grand prize modeling scholarship to IPOP (a national talent showcase in Los Angeles where agents world wide scout for their next talent). Through 3 months of intensive model training at JRP New Orleans she developed an elegant model walk, poise, and a stronger self confidence that led her to becoming IPOP's Adult Top Model of the year! She is officially signed with Next Model Management one of the top modeling agencies world wide.  Madeline is currently preparing for her big trip to Asia and we had the opportunity to catch up with her prior to leaving the country.

JRP: As you prepare for your travels to Asia, what are your thoughts? 
Madeline: As the time approaches, the idea of visiting another country is exciting, but it makes me a little nervous. I have never been outside of the United States and my biggest fear is getting lost in a foreign country. I do however know how big of an experience this is and I plan to take full advantage of it!

JRP: How do you feel the experience of traveling to Asia will benefit you as model?
Madeline: Traveling to Asia will not only allow me to build my portfolio, but help me grow as a person. Modeling has always been my dream and each day is more and more exciting. The confidence I will gain while in another country, out of my element, will benefit me in the long run. Meeting a ton of new people in the industry is also exciting!

JRP: What advice can you give to aspiring models as you leave the country?
Madeline: As I leave, I want aspiring models to know even when you think its not possible, it very well may be. A year ago, I would of never thought that I would be embarking on an opportunity to explore another culture while building my modeling portfolio. Remember that even though one person may not like you or your particular style, someone else may love you! DON'T EVER GIVE UP!

For more information on Madeline's success; check out her modeling portfolio on Next Model Management's Webpage. CLICK HERE

Follow Madeline Zerbe on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.

Do you think you have what it takes to peruse a career in modeling like Madeline Zerbe? CLICK HERE for more information.

From left to right, George Clooney, Sandra Bullock, Tom Hiddleston, and Gerald Butler. Image source: people.com
George Clooney, Sandra Bullock, Gerard Butler, and Tom Hiddleston are all headed to Louisiana this fall for a variety of upcoming film projects, including "Our Brand Is Crisis," "Geostorm," and "I Saw the Light." They will soon occupy the vacated spaces of the recently filmed "Terminator: Genisys," "Jurassic World" and "Fantastic Four" among other locations throughout Hollywood South.

Clooney and Bullock are reportedly expected to co-star in the Warner Brothers-backed comedy "Our Brand Is Crisis," which George Clooney and Gran Heslov are producing. "Our Brand Is Crisis" is based on Rachel Boynton's 2005 documentary, which focused on the use of American political campaign strategies in Bolivia by President Clinton's former consultants James Carville and Stan Greenberg. The comedy is expected to begin filming September 29th. 

In October, Butler is set to star in the Warner Brothers-backed sci-fi adventure feature film "Geostorm" that has been in pre-production since early July. He will reportedly play the role of a satellite designer who has to work together with his estranged brother to save the world from a man-made storm of epic proportions. 

From October to December, Hiddleston is set to play country music icon Hank Williams in "I Saw the Light," directed by Marc Abraham. Don't worry though. He has been known to pull off a role before. He is aware that society will feel that giving a British guy the part of an American legend is unconventional, but he is determined to make sure everyone knows he takes his role very serious. "It's a huge role for me and a huge responsibility. I'm going to give it everything I've got," he told the Daily Mail. Not convinced he can pull it off... Watch short film, "Thor: The Dark World." It just might give you some insight to the actors capabilities. 

As pre-production continues and filming begins with these well-known stars, keep an open eye out for star sightings and let us know who is spotted where, doing what, and when through our Spot the Star page (SPOTTED). 

Written by Blog Contributor: Samantha Doucet
The film industry and the production of feature films is exploding in the South. Last year Louisiana saw an increase in the number of feature films released theatrically. Now the film industry is expanding towards Mississippi where potential is seen within the industry.

Was Louisiana the start of something big in the film industry? Cameras and production crews are being spotted all over the South. Spill over from Louisiana has opened doors for many in the South Mississippi film industry, including up and coming actors. 

Several films have already been shot in South Mississippi and a production company is currently on the coast working on a movie titled, "Impact Earth." Earlier this summer, cameras and production crews were spotted on the set of the reality show "Party Down South" on the beach in Biloxi.

With the film industry expanding across the South, we can now say the South has become the new Hollywood!

Written by blog contributor: Samantha Doucet