Crew shoots Sylvester Stallone movie on coast amid strike adhering to interim agreements
WAVELAND, Miss. (WLOX) - Hollywood’s writers and actors strike is inching close to compromise Thursday. In the meantime, however, WLOX caught up with one film crew that is already taking advantage of interim agreements made between the parties.
Convergence Entertainment is shooting a film called “Armored” in parts of Pearlington and Waveland, specifically at Keesler Federal Credit Union’s Waveland Branch Thursday.
This particular production company is taking a proactive approach by adhering in advance to the requirements and stipulations the unions are currently asking for before negotiations are officially settled.
The company is also taking advantage of Mississippi’s film tax credits by shooting on the coastal location.
Armored is an action-packed film directed by Justin Routt that features Sylvester Stallone, Jason Patric and more.
“The people here are really friendly,” Routt told WLOX reporter Amber Spradley.
The long-time writer and executive producer is new to the Magnolia State. Routt said it’s also his first time directing a major film like this.
In shooting it, one of the team’s top priorities was to create jobs and recruit local crew members and talent.
“Most of the crew, probably 90% of them, are from here, you know,” Routt said. “And they’re all good people. They’re hard workers.”
Routt met Convergence Entertainment leaders at their Robert De Niro-film screening in New York and showed them his work. Moments later, they asked Routt to direct Armored.
Without giving much away, he said the story follows a father-and-son duo as one important armor truck is taken down.
“When we came here like a month or so ago, the heat was absolutely brutal. We had to go out to a bridge and film out there, and I mean brutal. So, we rented a bus, and we had to quit, and we had to come back,” Routt said. “And now, it’s kind of nice. There’s a cool breeze.”
Savannah Belcher, the Second-Second Assistant Director, has returned to her Mississippi roots to shoot the movie.
“I know not many things come to Mississippi,” she said. “But the more accommodating people are around here is just going to bring more jobs and more of these cool experiences to local communities.”
Belcher’s role is to keep an eye on safety as crew members act out dangerous action scenes, in addition to preparing scenes ahead of time with backgrounds, casting, sound equipment and more.
“We are so blessed to be able to be working right now,” Belcher said. “A lot of us have been at a standstill for a few months. So, we’re very thankful to this production.”
Tens of thousands of industry workers are currently fighting for better pay, more job security, a limit on the use of artificial intelligence and more.
But as Belcher explained, it is a fight that is felt both front-and-center and behind-the-scenes.
“It’s been very hard to see the strike going on. It has greatly impacted so many people,” she said. “Although it’s the Writers Guild striking and the Screen Actors Guild striking, a lot of people don’t realize it impacts the whole industry.”
In the coming days, a real armor truck previously belonging to the City of Waveland will crash off a bridge into the Mississippi waters. Unfortunately, reporters were asked not to film any actors for this story.
We will have to catch it all on the big screen, in Armored.
“It will be out in a year in theaters and streaming, you’ll see it both. Anything with Sylvester Stallone is going to do great. And with me, of course,” Routt said, laughing. “It’ll do great.”
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