‘Dancer and the Dame’ takes over Monroe


Gwendolyn Ducre

Louisiana makes its way as new film production capital

Actors continue to make their way down to Louisiana, and it’s not for the beignets. Instead, they are coming to work. Last year, the nonprofit Film L.A.’s studies showed that Louisiana has won over the title of the film-production capital.

Movies are currently being filmed just a few miles away from campus. The newly named bar, Tequila’s, was used to film “Dancer and the Dame” Tuesday. The comedy will include well-known actors like Billy Gardell and Eva LaRue.

Tommy Blaze, the script’s writer, said filming in Louisiana has been the best experience ever.

“The people of Monroe have just been awesome,” Blaze said.

It is a win-win operation to film in Louisiana. The state gives a tax break to the filmmakers, while giving Louisiana financial benefit.  For every three movies being filmed in Louisiana, only one is being shot in Hollywood.

Hometown producers like Anna Zielinski and Cheryl Wicker also helped generate a can-food drive to donate to the Northeast Food Bank.

“What’s great is that you get these beautiful locations and, on sets, they’re real places. And I think that always makes the texture of the movie look better,” Gordell said.

Filmmakers also used the Monroe police department and other Monroe sites to film. Monroe police were used as extras.

“We tried to put the city of Monroe in the movie as much as possible. We’ve filmed in exterior locations that say ‘Monroe’, like city hall. We’ve gone to a restaurant on the bayou-Warehouse No. 1,” Blaze said.

The film tells the story of Detective Dancer, played by Gordell, who struggled with a personal conflict five years before the movie starts. Since his struggle, Dancer gives up on life and his job.

That all ends when he is paired up with a police dog who is also dealing with post dramatic stress. The dog helps Dancer make a life changing turn around. And in response, Dancer does the same for his partner, the Dame.

The twice-written script was originally targeted for an action star. The script was rewritten for Gordell, which switched the film’s genre to comedy.

This will be Gordell’s first starring role. Gordell said he enjoys filming in Louisiana because of the southern hospitality.

“The people down here have been unbelievably kind. I think there’s a rule in Louisiana that once you met someone in 20 minutes you have to eat with them – incredibly hospitable,” Gordell said.

Some students had their glimpse of stardom.  These students were able to be apart of the Monroe-based film as extras and interns.

Alise Carter, a senior art major, was an extra for a goth-bar scene that was filmed at Tequila’s. Carter said she was eager to come out and dress up in costume and make-up.

“It’s fun because I get to dress up like I would love to all the time,” said Carter. “I would dress like this normally if people wouldn’t freak out as much.”

Orlandzeo Hennings, a sophomore vocal performance major, was an intern for the new film. Hennings said he’s learned a lot about what goes on behind the scenes. Hennings also said he would like to write a movie of his own one day.

“You really have to be cautious of other people’s time. Everybody’s got a job to do. You can’t sit around and not do your job,” said Hennings. “I would like to possibly be a scene play writer. I write on the side.”

The entire movie will be filmed in Monroe. The comedy is expected to show in theatres by the end of this year or beginning 2015.

This will make the first time for a Monroe movie to hit theatres.