Local businesses have played host to Hollywood while actors, actresses and production crews descended on the city to shoot “The Long Home” movie in recent weeks.
The film, which features actors James Franco, Josh Hutcherson, Josh Hartnett and Ashton Kutcher, among others, as well as actress Courtney Love, has shot at several locations across southwest Ohio, including Hamilton and Eaton.
That’s translated into good business for Ryan’s Tavern, a pub at 241 High Street in Hamilton.
Not only did the restaurant benefit from film cast and crews who stopped in to grab a drink or bite to eat, it was also the scene of a birthday part for one of the cast members.
Ryan’s Tavern owner Don Ryan said the pub held a birthday party upstairs for actor Wilmer Calderon that started Friday, May 8 and ended in the early hours of Saturday morning.
More than 50 people joined the party — including Franco and Hutcherson, who’s known for his role in the Hunger Games movie franchise — and talk of the celebration generated a crowd of “mostly teenage girls” fans outside the bar, Ryan said.
He never expected to see such clientele in his downtown Hamilton restaurant, and said the attention “can only help” with business.
“We’ve benefited from these large groups of (film crews) coming in,” Ryan said. “Not just from people coming, but they’re eating, drinking, spending their money at the tavern. Some of them stay at a hotel, some stop at the coffee shops.”
Various cast and crews working on “The Long Home” also stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott Hamilton, said Shawn Stidham, the director of sales for the downtown hotel.
This is the third film that’s stopped through Hamilton within the last year. The film “Carol,” which is generating Oscar buzz, brought actress Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara through town last year. And, the “Echo Effect” shot throughout the city late last year.
“The media attention from the recent film productions have put Hamilton in a positive light and reinforces the belief that the city is on the upswing,” Stidham said in an email. “There are some exciting things happening here.”
Stidham said his hotel staff’s recent experience with housing film crews will help them cater to future film groups that may come through the city.
Crews working on the movie have also had a good experience filming in the area, which could bring more films to Hamilton in coming months, said Steve Colwell, the location manager for Film Hamilton. The organization works to bring films to town.
“We’re finally getting the exposure that we need,” Colwell said. “(The film crew) has been very pleased with how helpful everyone is. All of the crew from out of the area that’s coming in, they love this area.”
“The Long Home” is mostly being shot in Hamilton, a producer for the film previously told the Journal-News. Actor Franco is also working on another film, “Goat,” which is simultaneously being shot throughout Greater Cincinnati.
The state has offered “The Long Home” up to $288,355 in refundable tax credits and “Goat” another $570,573. The amount of those awards will be finalized once shooting is finished.
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