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Part of James Franco movie to be filmed in Hamilton

Another Hollywood production is planning to film throughout Butler County, hopefully bringing jobs and a boost to local businesses.

The Greater Cincinnati Film Commission announced last week that actor-director James Franco’s production company, Rabbit Bandini, would be filming “Goat” along with Killer Films in Cincinnati, as well as “The Long Home,” which will shoot in the Queen City and other Butler County locations beginning May 4.

The shoot is a homecoming of sorts for two of Rabbit Bandini’s producers, as Jay Davis and Vince Jolivette are both Hamilton High School graduates, as well as cousins.

“We definitely have been wanting to shoot in Ohio, especially in our hometown, for some time, and we really wanted to make a point to come back here,” said Davis, in-house producer for Rabbit Bandini. He said that once he read the script for the film based on a William Gay novel of the same name, he realized that the 1940s period piece could be perfectly set in the Tri-State area.

“There are a lot of options around here for old farm houses and places that have an old-time feel,” he said.

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As with “Carol,” the Cate Blanchett-starring film that was shot in Hamilton in 2014, having Franco’s production team in town is “great exposure for our community and brings in dollars to the local economy,” said Hamilton’s economic development director Jody Gunderson.

“It is my understanding that the crews have enjoyed filming here, so it seems logical that we’re seeing more movie opportunities,” he added.

City staff was not involved in getting the film to shoot in Hamilton, but Film Hamilton’s efforts to work with people interested in filming in Hamilton, may be helping Hamilton develop a reputation as a city that is “film friendly,” Gunderson said.

“Goat” has been offered up to $570,573 in Ohio film tax incentives, according to Katie Sabatino, spokeswoman for Tourism Ohio. “The Long Home” project’s application is still under review by the Ohio Development Services Agency and no award letter has been sent out, she said.

The production company Rabbit Bandini has made Hamilton their production office base as they move through pre-production for the film this week, scouting out various locations — none have been confirmed yet — and finalizing the cast before beginning to shoot in May. Franco will be directing and starring in “The Long Home,” along with producing it.

“Goat” and “The Long Home” will be shot “pretty much simultaneously” for about three weeks in the area, Davis said.

“When I get any time off, I come home,” he continued. “Knowing that I am going to be here for six and seven weeks to prep and shoot is just exciting, and I know Vince feels the same.”

“When I heard the news, I just thought, finally, Hamilton,” said Madalyn Lester, Jolivette’s mother and Davis’ aunt, and a frequent actress in their movies. Lester has performed small roles in the company’s films, such as a nurse in “Bukowski,” an upcoming film which follows the infamous writer’s formative years. Lester, who lives in Hamilton with her husband, Dale, said that the whole family is excited to have their Hollywood boys back in town.

Since the story of an unpleasant bootlegger wreaking havoc in a small rural town takes place in the 1940s, producers were introduced to Film Hamilton’s location manager Steve Colwell to scope out more rugged areas to shoot.

“We’ve been looking at some outlying areas…we’ve been looking all over the place to give them options,” Colwell told the Journal-News. Film Hamilton’s Butler County Jail period set and the Hamilton Mill building at 20 High St. could possibly make appearances in the film, he said.

Those interested in applying to be an extra in “The Long Home” should send a head shot to thelonghomebg@gmail.com. Those interested in applying for crew employment should email their resume to thelonghomefilm@gmail.com.

Ohio taxpayers have given reality television stars, commercials, and movies nearly $44 million since 2010 in an effort to lure Hollywood to the state, according to a recent analysis by the Journal-News.

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