WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A movie being filmed on the Wake Forest Campus is already pumping money into our local economy.
However, local experts fear this may stop happening, unless state legislators take action.
The movie is called “The Longest Ride” and is based off of the Nicholas Sparks novel.
In the movie, a Wake Forest student falls in love with a cowboy. The cowboy is played by Clint Eastwood’s son, Scott Eastwood, who was on campus today.
The crew, largely from North Carolina, began filming around 6 a.m. and expected to be on campus for at least 12 hours.
“There is so much equipment, so many vehicles, so many trucks, so many tents, uh, so many people,” said Kevin Cox, Wake Forest University Spokesman. “When people watch this movie, they’ll be seeing Wake Forest identified as the university and the student identified as a Wake Forest student.”
Rebecca Clark, Executive Director of the Piedmont Triad Film Commission, says the movie has a multi-million dollar budget. Clark expects the local economic impact from the movie to be in the millions as well.
“Every day they’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. They’re spending it on accommodations, and rental cars and hardware supplies for building sets,” said Clark.
Clark fears that if our state legislators decide to do away with our current film incentive, which is a 25 percent tax credit, the movies will stop coming to our state.
“Without the film incentive, this film would not be here,” she said. “This film would not be shooting in North Carolina. That is a fact.”
Clark says legislators have approved some grants for movies, but she says that’s not enough.
“One of the things that is being proposed is a slight decrease in that percentage, a 25 percent to a 22.5 percent, which would still keep us competitive.”
Those grants still need to be approved by the Governor. Clark expects the legislators to hold off on making a firm decision on the film incentives until August 14th.
“I’m hoping that the legislators see that the film incentive doesn’t just effect Wilmington and Charlotte, it effects the entire state,” said Clark.
Some real Wake Forest University students have made their way into the movie, too, as extras.
“I saw this email about getting extras for this film and I as like ‘this looks like the opportunity of a lifetime, I think I should do this,'” said Liz Davis, who is going for her masters in English at the university.
“They had a walking scene and I just threw a football around. Retake, retake, retake, all morning, at 5 a.m., so my arm’s a little sore actually right now,” said Joe Max Floyd, who graduated from the university in May. “There are just so many different angles that you need to go at, you know, these people have a vision in their head.”
The crew is still in need of extras, and they want locals to come out. All you have to do is send an email to extrasTLR2@gmail.com. Title the email “Volunteer”, specify what days you are available, and how many people you are bringing. They will be filming bull riding, so wear your best western gear. The movie films in our area until the 9th. Prizes to be given away include flat screen TVs, Apple products, a GoPro camera, a Stanley Tool set, gift cards from Cooper Tires, Ariat & Wrangler, and free tickets to PBR events.