Bonnie & Clyde Movie slated for filming in Natchez

Published 11:27 pm Monday, April 6, 2009

A movie about Bonnie and Clyde, the 1930s outlaw couple notorious for their bank robberies and violent crimes, is slated for filming in Natchez in late May.

Hilary Duff, best known for starring in the Disney Channel show “Lizzie McGuire” and the movie “Cheaper By the Dozen,” has been cast as Bonnie Parker and Kevin Zegers, known for his role in Oscar-nominated “Transamerica,” has been cast as Clyde Barrow.

Cypress Moon Productions, of Sheffield, Ala., is producing “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde” and the movie is slated to film for 15 days in Natchez, city officials said. The movie is also being filmed in Louisiana and Alabama.

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Natchez Convention and Visitors Bureau Media Liaison Sally Durkin said she has been in discussion with the producer since April 2007. Cypress Moon was initially interested in filming at the historic Dunleith Plantation in Natchez. The plantation dates back to the 1850s, but Durkin said when the producer began to look around “the more they saw that Natchez was a place where they could shoot a large majority of the film.”

Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis said she took film officials on a city tour to help them scout out filming locations. A lot of it is going to be shot in my ward.”

The original movie will explore aspects of the couple’s lives that haven’t been given much attention in previous productions, including Barrow’s time in prison in the early 1930s.

Bonnie and Clyde went on a crime spree in the early 1930s, were gunned down by law enforcement in an ambush on a rural road near their Louisiana hideout on May 23, 1934.

Mathis said she was also helping to identify areas in town that could be used to house filming equipment and other large props.

Durkin said one of the filming company’s needs while in town is a place to store the antique cars to be used in the film.

Because the time period is in the 1930s during the Great Depression, Durkin said Dunleith was the only historic, grandeur filming location for which the production company was looking.

“We looked at some commercial buildings on the north end of town,” she said. “They are commercial buildings that no longer have a business operating that could be easily used and dressed for the period.”

Although the exact dollar amount of economic impact has not been discussed, Mayor Jake Middleton said it should be significant.

“I think it would be a tremendous economic impact,” he said. “Of course you surely hope they’d do business with the local businesses as far as their needs, lumber, hardware to build their sets staying overnight, eating in our restaurants.”

Middleton said the producer told him that some locals could be used for speaking and non-speaking parts in the movie and film site construction jobs may be available.

Natchez was a film destination in the 1970s and 1980s and Durkins said Natchez Convention and Visitors Bureau is working toward drawing more films. “We would like to get back into it, because it does bring a tremendous economic impact,” she said.