Ohio goes Hollywood

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 4, 2000

Any Lawrence Countians looking for a chance to get their 15 minutes of fame might want to send their photo off to California this week.

Thursday, May 04, 2000

Any Lawrence Countians looking for a chance to get their 15 minutes of fame might want to send their photo off to California this week.

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‘Traffic’, a motion picture directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Michael Douglas, will be filmed in Columbus this month.

Filming will take place for nearly four weeks and bring $2-$3 million into the Columbus area, said Scott Dring of the Ohio Division of Travel and Tourism.

"The Ohio Film Commission, an office in the Division of Travel and Tourism, its major goal is to secure production companies so that they film in Ohio thus bringing in dollars," Dring said. "When major motion pictures come, they have to stay in hotels and eat dinners."

Dring knows this from previous experience. This is not the first time Columbus has attracted movie production companies to the area, Dring said.

"’Air Force One’ was filmed in Columbus," he said. "And, ‘Shawshank Redemption’ – the whole thing was filmed in Mansfield."

The producers of ‘Traffic’ weren’t looking for a prison yard or air force base this time, though. They wanted a courtroom, Dring said.

"They are going to be filming the court scenes here," he said.

And there might just be quite a few court scenes in the movie, at least enough to keep the film industry in Ohio for about four weeks.

Douglas, the star of ‘Traffic’, plays a state supreme court judge who is asked to become the U.S. drug czar just as he learns of his daughter’s drug addiction.

Other actors and actresses featured in this film include Dennis Quaid, Catherine Zeta-Jones, James Brolin, Amy Irving, Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, Erika Christensen and, possibly, a Lawrence County native.

Anyone interested in being one of the nearly 100 extras in the film should send a current 3 by 5 inch or larger headshot photo to ‘Traffic’ – Columbus, 7201 Melrose Ave. No. D, Los Angeles, CA 90046. Each applicant must be 18 years old or older.

The individual’s name, phone number, height and weight must be included on the back of the photo. Photos will not be returned and must be received by May 15.

In the past eight years, more than 60 feature films have been shot in Ohio with an estimated economic impact of more than $100 million.

Established in 1976, the Ohio Film Commission assists the film and television industry in scouting and attaining permits and serves as a liaison to state and federal agencies and local government.

The Ohio Film Commission continually works to bring films to the state and it will continue to do so, Dring said.

"We don’t have any word yet about other films, but we’re constantly working with production companies and Los Angeles to get films here," he said.