ON LOCATION IN NEW ORLEANS–“12 Years a Slave” and “Interview with the Vampire”

Recently, we had the chance to visit New Orleans, a hot bed of filming locations throughout the years. Some films shot in and around New Orleans include the James Bond classic, “Live and Let Die,” “Ray,” “The Pelican Brief,” “All The King’s Men,” and the upcoming “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” and “22 Jump Street.” The Louisiana Film and Television Studio complex is also based in the Treme neighborhood.

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Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt starred in “Interview with the Vampire,” some of which was shot at Destrehan Plantation outside of New Orleans.

Destrehan Plantation (located ½ hour outside of New Orleans) has also played location to a few of these well-known films. Most recently, Destrehan Plantation was used as a location for “12 Years a Slave” and “Ravenswood.” Back in the ‘90’s, Destrehan Plantation served as the bloody backdrop for the blockbuster, “Interview with the Vampire,” starring Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Kirsten Dunst. The film adaptation of the controversial Anne Rice novel follows fledgling vampire, Louis as elder vampire Lestat leads him into the charmed and damned life of a vampire.

Some key scenes of “Interview with the Vampire” were shot inside Destrehan Plantation in Destrehan, Louisiana, a former working sugar plantation. Several of the rooms inside the moderate-sized plantation were painted, adapted and set-dressed for the film. Today, one room used for the filming remains an interesting shade of mint-green (a color that was popular back in Colonial Days). It is typical that if a film production utilizes a location for filming, the room, structure, etc., is returned to its pre-filming condition. It is unknown why this particular room was saved in its production color, but it makes for an interesting topic of conversation. Two other rooms used during filming have long since been repainted (they were originally draped in crimson for party scene), but two distinctive “vampire” chandeliers utilized during filming remain in place as a reminder of beautiful and haunting scenes that were captured at the plantation during production.

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1. Rendition of the party scene from “Interview with the Vampire.”  2. Tom Cruise as Lestat  3. Room used for filming  4. Set chandelier

The Mule Shed at Destrehan Plantation was used in the filming of “12 Years a Slave,” yet another film starring Brad Pitt. The areas behind the plantation have been kept to approximate historic conditions and once served as slave work and sleep quarters. Nearly 100 people came to the plantation to film at The Mule Barn. It was transformed into a cotton plantation barn with cotton strewn on the floor, ladders and ceiling inside. Location scouts visited Destrehan Plantation in 2012 to share a photo of what a cotton plantation barn would have looked like back in the day and once they secured the location, came back and morphed the barn into a vintage set. The Mule Barn was “Epp’s Barn” in the film. (Character Edwin Epps was portrayed by Michael Fassbender in the film.)

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The Mule Barn at Destrehan Plantation served as Epps Barn in “12 Years a Slave,” starring Brad Pitt.

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” was also filmed in the New Orleans area. If you were wondering why a good many films starring Pitt were shot in the famed city, it’s because Pitt owns a home in the area.

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Posted on January 7, 2014, in Behind the Scenes, Entertainment, Exclusives, Film and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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