Dream Coast Films, a Beaufort-based movie production company, has big plans to shoot two independent films in the Beaufort area within the next six months, according to the films' executive producer.
Production of "Route 65 Nashville," about aspiring female country music singers, is supposed to begin next month, according to executive producer Barbara Terry. The cast includes Eric Roberts, Corbin Bernsen, Naomi Judd and Rachel Hunter, she said.
Attempts Friday to confirm that the stars have signed on for the movie were unsuccessful.
The production company still must raise $2 million of the $7.2 million budget, and Terry says she is seeking investors interested in owning a share of the movie. The production company also is looking for companies interested in paying for product placement.
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"Route 65 Nashville" would be the first feature film Terry has produced.
Close on the heels of that film would be a second one -- "My Brother, Your Outlaw: The Waylon Jennings Story" -- which Terry said would begin production in January 2014.
Both films are "independent," meaning they are produced without initial backing from major Hollywood studios.
Although Dream Coast Films initially planned to film "Route 65" in and around Nashville, Terry says South Carolina's film incentives convinced her to move production here. Films or TV productions shot in the state can receive incentives on wages paid and purchases made in the state if they meet certain criteria.
Dream Coast Films, however, has not yet applied for those incentives, according to Marion Edmonds, spokesman for the S.C. Film Commission.
Terry's website says she is from Texas and is an automotive expert, writer and TV personality. She wrote a column for the Houston Chronicle and once owned her own racing team, has appeared on CNN and worked as a spokeswoman or product representative for numerous companies, including Volkswagen, Rain-X and eBay Motors, the website says.
She co-owns the rights to both films with director and writer Ric La Monte, whose film, "Dead by Friday," was released last year.
Terry, who now lives on St. Helena Island, said filming in South Carolina also appealed to her because it would allow her go home every night.
Several movies, including "The Big Chill," "The Great Santini" and "Forrest Gump" were shot in and around Beaufort in the 1980s and 1990s. But it's been more than 14 years since filming wrapped on the movie "Rules of Engagement," the last film shot here, according to Ron Tucker of the Beaufort Film Society.
Although the economics of moviemaking sent many productions to Canada, tax credits put in place by several Southern states lured film companies back to the U.S., Tucker said. The S.C. legislature adopted incentives of its own earlier this year, and Tucker said he expects more producers to consider Beaufort.
"You can build the right set and have it look like what you want it to look like," he said, noting that productions set in large cities such as Nashville can be made just about anywhere as long as there are shots of the city's skyline and other visual cues.
"Once you plant the seed in someone's head that you're in Nashville," he said, viewers generally assume all other scenes are shot there, too.
Terry says some parts of the movie will be shot in and around Nashville.
Tucker is optimistic about the movie project, said all the pieces appear to be in place.
"This can't possibly have a bad ending for her," he said. "The all-star cast is lined up and now it's up to Beaufort to make her feel welcome."
Follow reporter Casey Conley at twitter.com/IPBG_Casey.