published Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Samuel L. Jackson narrates Chattanooga History Center film


This story is featured in today's TimesFreePress newscast.

Visitors to the new Chattanooga History Center at the Aquarium Plaza will hear a familiar voice when they're greeted by a 10-minute orientation film.

Actor and Chattanooga native Samuel L. Jackson has provided the narration for the project, according to Daryl Black, executive director of the center.

"As someone who was raised in Chattanooga, I'm excited to be part of this effort that will tell the real story of Chattanooga and the events that helped shape its history," Jackson said in a news release.

The 19,500-square-foot center is set to open in early 2014.

Black said Jackson was contacted about doing the project through some board members who "have a relationship" with the actor, and he was immediately agreeable.

"History is a hard sell, and when you hear what is obviously Sam's voice, people are going to be surprised," Black said.

The film was shot here, while Jackson recorded his part at a "remote location." The finished piece was produced in New York. The script was written by Black and directed by Damani Baker. Having a star of Jackson's stature with such an easily recognizable voice will set an important tone for visitors to the center, Black said.

"As people come in, Sam's voice lends an air of familiarity to the story that will be unexpected," Black said. "It demonstrates the high level of quality that we've brought to the product."

The film will be the first media exhibit that visitors experience just before entering the gallery space. The film gives an overview of the history of the area beginning with how the river helped shape the topography. Then it continues with details on key locations and dates -- both positive and challenging -- that have influenced Chattanooga and the people who have called it home.

History Center board members and capital campaign co-chairmen Rick and Cannon Montague said Jackson's connection to the city -- and his voice, of course -- "makes him the perfect narrator to bring the Chattanooga story to life and foreshadow the challenges, triumphs and key events that helped shape our city's history."

In 2011, the Guinness Book of World Records named Jackson the most successful actor in history based on the total revenue from all his films -- about $7.4 billion. He has been a part of more than 100 films, including "Pulp Fiction," "Jurassic Park," "The Incredibles," the Star Wars prequel trilogy, "Iron Man" and "Iron Man 2." And the Guinness Book title doesn't include his role in last summer's "The Avengers," which is third on the list of all-time highest-grossing movies at $1.5 billion.

The Chattanooga History Center was originally named the Chattanooga Regional History Museum. It was created in 1978 by local residents who wanted to preserve local artifacts.

Contact staff writer Barry Courter at or at 423-757-6354.

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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