After a long stretch of quiet time for the film industry in our area, cameras are rolling and Baton Rouge is buzzing as the Disney+ series National Treasure makes the Capital City its backdrop this spring. Stars Lisette Alexis and Catherine Zeta-Jones are temporarily displacing the residents of a few of our area’s most aesthetically pleasing neighborhoods as they shoot scenes from the show, which is speculated to be set for a 2023 release date.
While we wait to see how this new show fits into the National Treasure film franchise, it seemed like the perfect time to take a look back at some of the many movies that have been filmed in the Baton Rouge area over the years. Here are just a few of our favorites, including some blockbusters as well as a few you might be learning about for the first time:
As Commander Ernest Krause, star Tom Hanks and his Navy ship crew appeared to be tossed about in the rough seas of the Mid-Atlantic as they attempted a harrowing voyage during World War II–but in reality, the cast remained safely docked aboard the U.S.S. Kidd in downtown Baton Rouge and within a soundstage at Celtic Media Centre. Originally scheduled for a big-screen release, the movie shifted to make its debut on Apple TV+, allowing viewers to pause and rewind as often as they’d like in order to spot other local landmarks including the State Capitol, which stands in for a fancy hotel lobby.
The “Team Jacob” and “Team Edward” frenzy was at its highest when producers of these Twilight sequels decided to shoot in Baton Rouge. I can neither confirm nor deny that friends of mine were among the giddy girls who stood outside the gates to Celtic Media Centre hoping to catch a glimpse of Robert Pattinson. In addition to filming on the Celtic soundstages, director Bill Condon also set scenes on Baton Rouge streets that stood in for Paris, as well as inside New Orleans’ Roosevelt Hotel.
I was 8 years old and cable TV had just reached my neighborhood when this movie first hit HBO. Let’s just say I spent many after-school hours sitting on the floor in front of our console TV memorizing the lines delivered by comedy legends Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason. It was a point of pride that all of the most memorable scenes were shot right here in the Capital City–from the department-store Wonder Wheel incident at Goudchaux’s to the action inside a mansion off Old Perkins Road. It’s worth watching again for your own dose of nostalgia–plus some silly laughs.
Pitch Perfect (1-3), 2012, 2015, 2017
From the “riff-off” in the bottom of the empty pool at LSU’s Huey P. Long Fieldhouse in the original film to the third movie’s international a cappella competition staged during an all-night shoot at Highland Road Community Park, the Pitch Perfect franchise is practically an album full of no-instrument love songs to our city.
Alright, alright, alright. A rom-com featuring Matthew McConaughey and SJP is what we all need right now. Filmed at a variety of locations around the South, this film–which also includes memorable supporting roles by Terry Bradshaw and Kathy Bates–made its way to south Louisiana for scenes in New Orleans as well as at Jim’s Firearms in Baton Rouge. You might also spot the two love interests sipping coffee from CC’s.
Glory Road, 2006
Nothing brings a tear to the eye quite like a sports movie where the underdog wins in the end. Battling the bigotry of the mid-1960s, Texas Western College’s men’s basketball team beats the odds to become the first all-African American team to win the NCAA national championship. Actors Josh Lucas, Derek Luke and the rest of the cast were filming in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit, forcing them to evacuate via a 14-hour drive to Baton Rouge, where scenes were shot at LSU and elsewhere.
It’s easy to draw inspiration from this biopic that reveals how Ray Charles rose above his circumstances to become one of music’s biggest stars. The Louisiana State Capitol doubles as its Georgia counterpart for a scene in which Charles, played by Jamie Foxx, receives the honorary of “Georgia’s Favorite Son.”
Camp Cool Kids, 2017
Baton Rouge’s Jarred Coates wrote the screenplay for this fun-for-the-whole-family flick based largely on his own childhood memories, and the summer camp scenes were shot at Camp Istrouma. Read more about Coates’ life in the film industry in this story from the inRegister archives.
Susan Sarandon and her real-life daughter Eva Amurri star in this coming-of-age dramedy shot at familiar spots including Blue Bayou Water Park and the LSU quad.
Terrence Howard plays the coach of a swim team for troubled teens in this heartwarming story inspired by true events. Baton Rouge and New Orleans stand in for 1970s Philadelphia–keep an eye out for scenes shot in front of the LSU Student Union.
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, 1974
The late Ernest Gaines’ beloved novel, which depicts a woman’s life journey from being born into slavery to taking part in the civil rights movement, makes its way to the screen in this Emmy-winning adaptation starring Cicely Tyson. Filming locations include Ashland-Belle Helene Plantation in Geismar, The Cottage Plantation in St. Francisville, and the Baton Rouge Airport.