published Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Movie filmed in Chattanooga area opens in April

  • photo
    In this March 17, 2010 file photo, British actor Robert Pattinson arrives on the red carpet for the UK premiere of "Remember Me" at the Leicester Square Odeon cinema in central London. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan)

“Water for Elephants,” the film partially shot in the Chattanooga area last summer, will have its premiere here April 22.

The movie — which stars Robert Pattinson and Nashville-raised Reese Witherspoon — will premiere at the Majestic 12 Theatre on Broad Street.

There is no official word whether either will attend the local premiere, but Melissa Turner, communications director with the Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Film Commission, said city officials are trying to make that happen.

“The New York premiere is the week before, and we are hoping they will want to come, here as well,” she said.

Fans of Pattinson — most famous for his role as vampire Edward in the “Twilight” movies — descended on Chattanooga and North Georgia from across the nation once it was learned the actor was to be here for filming. Pattinson spent almost a week filming scenes at a house south of Chickamauga, Ga., and at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.

In the film, which is not yet rated but is based on the book by Sara Gruen, Pattinson is a veterinary student who abandons his studies after his parents are killed. He then joins a traveling circus and is hired to care for the animals. He develops a relationship with Witherspoon, who plays a performer in the circus.

A red-carpet reception will open the film premiere in Chattanooga at 7 p.m., followed by behind-the-scenes recordings from the Chattanooga shoot and interviews with Executive Producer Kevin Halloran, according to a news release from the film commission.

Other festivities will include a Pattinson and Witherspoon look-alike contest, movie ticket and poster giveaways. A black-tie VIP meet-and-greet will be held at Bluewater Grille from 5 to 7 p.m.

“This film will showcase Tennessee’s beautiful locations to the rest of the world, which is one of the reasons we fight so hard to bring productions to our state,” said Nathan Lux with the Tennessee Film, Entertainment & Music Commission. “Fox didn’t want to shoot this feature outside L.A., but our trains and landscapes were just too compelling.”

IF YOU GO

Movie tickets — $9.50 for adults and $7 for children — should be bought in advance. For more information, call 826-2370.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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