Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – There is a strange coexistence between Hollywood and a small town in the Mississippi Delta of the United States, and US director Tate Taylor is one of those behind it.
Taylor is best known for films such as “The Help” and focuses his efforts on Natchez, Mississippi and its environs, a city of less than 15,000 people who consider themselves “the birthplace of Mississippi.”
But it was the non-Hollywood vibe of the area that made filming there so magical, Taylor said.
That distance between Hollywood and that city maintains a kind of energy between the cast and crew, which is hard to find in the big cities.
That intimacy also opens up a world of opportunities for local people – Taylor said he loved growing up in Jackson, Mississippi.
Bringing more dollars into the region, film projects based on the Mississippi Delta, such as “Miss Macy”, directed by Taylor and starring American actress Jane SmartReflects the opportunity to showcase different talents in the film industry.
Taylor, who co-founded Film Knots, an organization that aims to enrich filmmaking education:
“There are many talented people in the South, including storytellers and artists.”
Taylor added, “We hired a guy who works at Burger King. He didn’t think of working in the film industry, which changed the course of his life.”
Long before Taylor brought movies to Mississippi, he was trying to get out.
He made a quantum leap in his life after meeting Oscar-winning American actress Octavia Spencer on the set of the play “Time to Kill” which was filmed in the state in 1996.
The two moved to Los Angeles together, where they shared the same room for 6 years.
Because of his work, Taylor has worked on and off the camera for many years between Los Angeles and New York.
Until he began working on “The Help” in 2011 – which the director called his “first big movie” – Taylor was thinking about returning to his hometown and insisting on filming in Greenwood, Mississippi.
Taylor explained why he chose the location, saying, “I thought it was very important to film it in the grounds where it was set up.”
The film tells the story of a young white woman who aspires to become a journalist, focusing on her relationship with two black maids during the 1962 civil rights movement. The young woman decides to write a book about the lives of maids. In view, it exposes the racism they manifest while working for the families of its members who are white.
In fact, the cast and crew loved the site due to the lack of traffic and easy speed.
In a recent episode of CNN’s original Nomad series, Taylor spoke about the complex past of homes and his decision to preserve the rooms of enslaved people as a kind of monument and educational source for school children and historians.
Taylor noted that houses are dilapidated and he has to decide whether to keep them or destroy history.
While advising many to plant shrubs where these houses are located, he thought it was an honorable act to restore them.
Since then, he has restored several buildings in the Church Hill and Natchez areas, and started several businesses, including the restaurant “Church Hill Variety”.
The personal interests and potential needs of the incoming film crew are somewhat driven by the plans they choose, but Taylor – a recipient of last year’s award from the Mississippi Tourism Association for investing in the local economy – says their neighbors’ needs are high on the list. .
As Taylor continues to bring film and television productions to the region, in addition to the upcoming “Miss Macy” movie, she will be presenting 3 seasons of the “Prince of Tights” series in Mississippi.
The cast and crew love to start their day at The Little Easy, and it often attracts Hollywood audiences to work and play on Viola’s farm.
Taylor noted that others, including American actor Morgan Freeman, are bringing plans to Natchez with his “Great Escapes” series for The History Channel.
Taylor is producing the show locally at the Crook Letter Picture Company.
However, Taylor did not block any attempt to describe Natchez as “Hollywood of the South”.
“I do not want it to be the Hollywood of the South. We want to bring people to the place of hospitality and work, to benefit the people who live there,” he added.