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Location scouts scour New Orleans looking for houses ready for the big screen

Matthew Redding's and Bonita Day's home has been used in shoots for movies and television commercials. They live in a contemporary loft in a warehouse building they own along with Matthew's brother, Mark, and Mark's wife, architect Jackie Case, who designed the renovation of the warehouse. (Photo by Kathleen Flynn, Nola.com / The Times-Picayune).

Matthew Redding's and Bonita Day's home has been used in shoots for movies and television commercials. They live in a contemporary loft in a warehouse building they own along with Matthew's brother, Mark, and Mark's wife, architect Jackie Case, who designed the renovation of the warehouse. (Photo by Kathleen Flynn, Nola.com / The Times-Picayune).

Editor's note: NolaVie Hollywood South columnist Brian Friedman catches up with New Orleans film location scouts, as well as the homeowners whose abodes have been used in film, about sniffing out and manufacturing the perfect film spots. You can read the full article on nola.com. 

After 26 years as a film and television location scout in New Orleans, Dana Hanby can look at the exterior of a house -- its style, the yard -- and have an idea of what the interior will be like.

"But you still never know what you're going to get."

When he's curious about a home's interior, he knocks on the door, and, 90 percent of the time, he estimates, he's been welcomed inside. Typically, his mental reaction is immediate.

"It's either, 'Oh, this is good,' or 'This isn't going to work at all," said Hanby, who has scouted for films ranging from "Dead Man Walking" to last year's "Parker." (In those latter situations, "I don't just turn around and walk back out. There's a lot of small talk that goes on, and I take pictures anyway... it might be good for something in the future.")

"You do a little research first depending on the style of home (needed in the film)," said fellow location scout Lisa Latter, who counts "The Campaign" and "Jeff, Who Lives at Home" among her credits and is now working on the Anthony Hopkins-production "Kidnapping Freddy Heineken."

"I know the areas of New Orleans quite well because I'm from here, and I have a ton of files already that I can look through to give me ideas. So depending on the style of house, I'll go out in that area."

Latter enjoys the search, driving around and taking photos of possible locations. "And I'm not shy about knocking on doors," she said.

Brian Friedman writes about New Orleans for NolaVie.