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Green Book on location - filming Louisiana

Green Book is nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards and for Best Film at the BAFTAs. KFTV looks at the film’s Louisiana locations.

Set in the early 1960s, Peter Farrelly’s film is based on the true story of African American pianist Dr Don Shirley who undertakes a tour of America’s Deep South with working-class Italian American Tony Lip as his hired driver. Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen star.

Green Book

Though set throughout the Deep South – a term generally used to describe Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana – principal photography for the movie took place entirely on location in Louisiana, one of America’s production hubs.

“Our story takes place in 1962 in various locations spread across northern and southern states, so we needed to maximise practical period-familiar locations which could double for multiple cities,” says Kwame Parker, an executive producer on the film, in comments to KFTV.

“Louisiana is rich in southern history, while influenced by various migrating cultures throughout its history. This allowed us to find towns and smaller cities where we could maximise an early-1960s feel for both southern and northern cities and towns. 

“This also allowed us to stay in one state for our transitional pieces when Tony Lip and Dr Don Shirley are travelling between cities and across state lines.”

Green BookA key recurring challenge involved changing many of the film’s locations to support the period timeframe, with visual effects used in some cases to extend street settings.

The producers avoided filming on stages so as to keep costs down, but this created its own issues.

“We had multiple locations on one shooting day, which is a strain on the shooting and prep crews,” says Parker.

“In order to film our period scenes on modern-day streets, we needed to redress all aspects of the scene, including background performers in wardrobe, picture cars, stores, signage and even street fixtures.

“We asked a lot of a phenomenal crew and they delivered at every turn. The crew base is strong and supportive, which is the main perk of shooting in Louisiana. We could not have done this without their dedication and hard work.”

Louisiana has become one of America’s main filming hubs through a combination of a skilled crew base, strong studio infrastructure and a base 25% tax credit as a filming incentive.

Recent high-profile productions have included sci-fi drama The First that charted preparations to send a manned mission to Mars. Netflix shot locally for Mudbound, set in Mississippi after the Second World War, and The Highwaymen, telling the story of the detectives who tracked infamous robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in the 1930s.

The BAFTAs will be held in London on 10 February and the Academy Awards will be in Los Angeles two weeks later.

See KFTV's production guide for more on filming in Louisiana.

Images: Universal Pictures/Entertainment One