As the momentum for Hollywood South continues to grow, celebrity sightings are becoming more common in New Orleans than Mardi Gras beads. Just this past week, Sylvester Stallone was spotted at Whole Foods, and singer Pink was seen having drinks at the Hotel Monteleone. Combine that with numerous Leonardo DiCaprio encounters, and more then one spotting of the Jolie-Pitts and it’s hard to argue with the growing popularity of the Crescent City. But has this flood of Hollywood A-List caused NOLA locals to become a little jaded? Recently NOLA.com reported that both Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger were in the French Quarter filming their new action flick. The article made a point to mention that many of the passers-by were entirely unimpressed by the cameos! It writes, “The star’s presence didn’t cause the pandemonium it might have caused in other, less jaded locales, and the Bourbon Street scene whirled on, with the Quarter’s characters acting out their own dramas.” While many did stop for the photo opportunity, the outcome was far from expected. This has your Southern Celebrity Gossiper wondering- have celebrities become so commonplace here that they go almost unnoticed? And is this a good or a bad thing? For those of us professionally involved in the entertainment industry, it is a VERY good thing. The more comfortable celebs feel here in our city, the more likely they’ll stay- and the more productive filming is (without gaggles of fans wanting autographs) the more likely it is that NOLA will stay the Hollywood of the South. And as for the buzz on what celebrities are working on here in New Orleans, you can always trust in SCG to give you the latest… from a respectful distance.

Three of Hollywood’s famed ladies made a courtside appearance at recent Hornets game. Brooke Shields, Daryl Hannah, and Melanie Griffith enjoyed a girl’s night out as they watched the New Orleans Hornet’s play against the San Antonio Spurs. Actors and comedians, Wanda Sykes and Camryn Manheim were reportedly also in the crowd that night, and the two were seated just below the basket. Manheim’s brother is local resident, who teaches law at Loyola University.

All of the named celebrities were rooting for the NOLA Hornets, and were disappointed by their 2 point loss in the end. One source told this Southern Celebrity Gossiper that Shields visited the uptown spot, Le Bon Temps Roule for a beer following the game. Even if our Hornets didn’t have the best game, they certainly have the best fans!! We previously reported on 50 Cent’s appearance in the Hive, and the court has also hosted Lil’ Wayne.

For more on this sighting, as well as details about the game, visit the Mirror.

 There has been a lot of focus in the media, both locally and nationally, about the sensational developments in the Louisiana Film Community. Here in our very own blog, we recently cited an article that documented the on-going projects, as well as predictions about what the future may bring. With all of this hype about the fu it is easy to forget that local filming is FAR from new. While it is true that recent tax incentives have spiked the popularity of NOLA-shot films, there is something to be said for the appeal of the local scenery that has been capturing the attention of directors for decades.

 Thankfully  “Film Accessory Researchers” Ed and Susan Poole have dedicated themselves to reminding the local community about the roots of the Hollywood South. And, with the release of their 11th reference book Hollywood on the Bayou, we can hope that they can remind the world about the rich film history of Louisiana. The two have stated, “Movies produced in Louisiana can depict any time period in any location. Even in the cases where movies were not actually filmed on location here, film producers went to great lengths to recreate the look and feel of authentic Louisiana . . . Louisiana’s diversified topography, architecture, ethnic diversity, and unique charm have brought star quality to many films.”

Tonight, the Chalmette Movies will honor these two local film-enthusiasts, and also celebrate the heritage of the local film history.  Beginning at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Tuesday the 13th, the pair will be at the movies promoting “Hollywood on the Bayou”. The two will lead a discussion about the History of Louisiana Films, ranging from the years 1896 to 2010. This discussion will last about an hour, and is free to the public! The Chalmette Movies is located at 8700 W Judge Perez Dr, Chalmette, LA._

So come on out tonight, and take a glimpse into the past of Louisiana’s Hollywood Fame!

You can learn more about the Pooles' work, specifically, Hollywood on the Bayou, on their website. Or check out this video they have made!

And you can read more about this story through the examiner.com 

It is no secret that Brad Pitt is a notable New Orleans celebrity. Dozens of images can be seen of him and his family breezing through the French Quarter.  It is also on record that stores in uptown have even had to close for regular business when Angelina comes through because of the spectacle of fans. But other than enjoying the shopping and laid back atmosphere, Brad is also contributing to the local community.

            But this time it isn’t charity that he is being generous with- but his talent. Brad plans to produce and star in a movie based on a true story set in Louisiana. Provided the story doesn’t paint the State in the best light, dealing with slave ownership and kidnapping, Brad has chosen to bring this harrowing tale to the big screen to depict a different side of the local history.

           Reportedly, he plans to shoot this film here in Louisiana to offer an accurate setting for the story.  The memoir “Twelve Years a Slave” is the real-life account of Solomon Northup, who was illegally kidnapped and sold into slavery in the early 1800’s. Having worked in New York, Northup was drugged and beaten before being sold into the slave trade in Georgia. It was in Georgia that the formerly-freed slave was sold to “Master Epps” who owned a cotton plantation here in New Orleans. It has not yet been released if Pitt plans to portray the slave-master Epps, or the Canadian construction worker responsible for freeing Northup and returning him to his native state. Previously Brad has chosen the more noble characters, but fans and followers are excited by the thought of him playing the bad guy.  Regardless, other big names like Steve McQueen (writer of 2008’s “Hunger”) and Michael Fassbender (of “Inglorious Bastards”) have already signed on to the project because they didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity.

            The screenplay for this biographical drama is already complete, and casting is already underway- so in the future we may start seeing signs for “12YAS”.

For more information about this film, read the news article from Canada.com

What do New Orleans, Tupac Shakur, Shakespeare, and Ramen Noodles all have in common? Well, they are all contributing factors to the fantastic life of NOLA local Anthony Mackie. From his initial training here in Louisiana- to his Screen Actors Guild nominated performance in "The Hurt Locker", Mackie is making his city (not to mention his family!) proud. Most recently, his talents were celebrated at the Black Perspectives Tribute of the Chicago Film Festival where he was awarded the Artistic Achievement Award. As for the most challenging part of his successful career? Staying true to his roots. Read what he has to say HERE.

Full Article available through examiner.com

“Treme” filming on location in New Orleans
“Treme” filming on location in New Orleans
Celebrity sightings around New Orleans are becoming almost commonplace as the city attracts more and more film production business, and that must be a good thing. The chance of glimpsing a movie star on the street surely adds to New Orleans’ allure. But according to a recent report, the benefits of our rising star power go well beyond celebrity autographs.

“Louisiana’s flagship incentive program has been a catalyst for substantial film production growth statewide,” consultant Cheryl Louise Baxter said in the report. During the period 2008-’10, about 92 films per year qualified for the tax incentives, almost triple the annual number that received the credits during the first six years of the program.

Baxter said that total spending by film producers in Louisiana also rose sharply during that same period, to a 2010 estimated total of $674 million. (Last year’s direct payroll spending by producers to Louisiana employees hit more than $5 million, according to the report.)

Among the Louisiana-shot feature films of 2010 were local productions that included the Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale thriller Contraband (set for a ’12 release), and the action comedy Red featuring Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and Mary-Louise Parker. 

Some 20 features currently under way in the state include the New Orleans productions Cogan’s Trade, starring part-time New Orleans resident Brad Pitt; 21 Jump Street, featuring Johnny Depp; and Medallion, starring Nicolas Cage.

Our burgeoning film industry is still in its youth and only beginning to establish its permanence with the studios, sound stages and support structure that help ensure long-term business and better jobs. Eventually, activity may expand to the point where it’s clear that we have a “real” local film industry. Until then, New Orleans may have to content itself with enjoying those celebrity sightings and knowing that our star is likely on the rise. 

Continue reading at myneworleans.com

Two songwriters with local roots are aboard Kara DioGuardi’s first TV venture following her exit from “American Idol.”

“Platinum Hit,” debuting at 9 tonight on Bravo, pits a dozen potential platinum hit-makers in a tussle of tunesmiths. DioGuardi, a hit-maker herself before her two seasons on “Idol,” serves as the show’s head judge. Jewel is at her side as judge and host. Other performers will guest-judge throughout the season.

From dance tracks to ballads, the contest will try the participants’ skills in several musical genres. A $100,000 cash prize and publishing and recording deals await the winner.

Karen Waldrup is a Mandeville, Louisiana native who graduated from Fontainebleau High School in 2004 and then attended the University of Southern Mississippi on a vocal scholarship. 

Scotty Granger is a River Ridge, Louisiana native who attended Grace King High School and who is also the great-nephew of Mahalia Jackson. Scotty attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Scotty has been very successful in his music career but has always had a knack for writing songs. 

We can't wait to see these two Louisiana natives vie for the prize! 

Read more about Karen and Scotty on NOLA.com
John Robert Powers alum Chloe Bridges (center)
MTV's new movie, 'Worst Prom Ever' premiers tonight at 9:00pm. In the movie is New Orleans native and John Robert Powers alum, Chloe Bridges (pictured center). 

Chloe first became interested in acting when she participated in the play Annie at St. Martin's Episcopal School. At age eleven, she enrolled in modeling and acting classes at John Robert Powers in New Orleans to better develop her skills. In 2005, Chloe landed a role as Freddie Prinze Jr's niece, Zoey in ABC's Freddie. In 2008, she made a guest appearance in Out of Jimmy's Head and landed a role in The Longshots alongside Keke Palmer and Ice Cube. In 2009, Chloe starred in the supernatural-horror-thriller Forget Me Not where she plays Layla. Most recently, Chloe filmed the highly anticipated Disney Channel original movie Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam where she plays Dana opposite of Nick Jonas.

Continue to MTV.com for details and behind the scenes pictures. 

If you would like more information on how to get started in the entertainment industry, visit John Robert Powers Acting and Modeling Academy and fill out the online audition form

Uriah Shelton, left, Jimmy Bennett and Gabriel Basso in 'Alabama Moon.'
"Alabama Moon" -- based on Watt Key's 2006 novel and shot largely in the New Orleans area in late 2008 -- is a movie that doesn't seem to know quite what it wants to be.

It begins on a melancholy Southern Gothic note, shifts unexpectedly into family-friendly adventure mode and eventually transforms into a tender coming-of-age tale. At every step, director Tim McCanlies ("Secondhand Lions, " "Smallville") grinds the gears in his earnest, but ultimately clunky, adaptation.

Even with its 1980 setting and its lack of river scoundrels, it's a story with echoes of "Huckleberry Finn, " albeit faint ones. That's mostly because it focuses on a grubby 11-year-old named Moon (Jimmy Bennett, "Star Trek") who has been raised as a survivalist in the backwoods of Alabama by his anti-government father.

When the old man dies unexpectedly, Moon -- who was taught above all to not trust anyone -- is left to fend for himself. So he buries his Pap, he packs up his wheelbarrow and he starts out for Alaska. There, his father insisted, a man can still homestead unmolested.

Unfortunately, he doesn't even make the county line before he is picked up and thrown into a state-run boy's home by the film's villain, a bumbling law-enforcement officer played by Clint Howard. There, in addition to making new friends, Moon plots a great escape that starts him on a scattered journey that eventually will carry him through the rest of the film and teach him occasionally bitter lessons about life and friendship.

Although much of "Alabama Moon" was shot in Louisiana -- mostly in the Mandeville and Covington areas of St. Tammany Parish -- it's set entirely in Alabama, so any local scenery is diligently disguised. (Although there is the tell-tale presence of a handful of local actors, including John Goodman, John "Spud" McConnell and Gary Grubbs.)

 McCanlies' film benefits from strong production values, and its sense of adventure stands to capture the imagination of 11-year-old boys in the audience. For almost everyone else, though, "Alabama Moon" likely will end up being the kind of movie they want to like more than they actually do.