Top 10 Mississippi locations you won’t see in ‘Get On Up’


By Steve Wilson | Mississippi Watchdog

The James Brown biographical movie “Get On Up” makes its official debut in theaters Friday.

Mississippi residents trying to find distinctive locations might find the going tough, as the Magnolia State stands in for locations in Brown’s life, such as Georgia, New York, Boston and even Paris, France.

Boston? I don’t think you’ll find Fenway Park or a good place for a Boston Tea Party here unless it’s sweet tea. About the only tourism benefit the state will receive, unlike with “The Help,” is the Mississippi Film Commission mention in the credits.

A Clarion-Ledger story detailed the locations in Natchez and Jackson that stand in for scenes from James Brown’s career. According to a story in the Natchez Democrat, the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau will print a map for visitors showing the filming locations for “Get On Up.”

Just be prepared to look hard.

GODFATHER OF SOUL: The new film depicting the life of James Brown, “Get On Up,” was filmed in the Magnolia State.

The film, directed by Mississippi native Tate Taylor (director of “The Help”) and starring Chadwick Boseman as Brown, is taking advantage of the Magnolia State’s generous movie tax incentive program. The program provides a 25 percent rebate on money spent in the state and rebates on local payroll (30 percent) and out-of-state payroll (25 percent) up to $10 million.

Mississippi Development Authority spokesman Jeff Rent said the film had been approved by his office for a subsidy. The amount is still pending.

“They have yet to submit their paperwork for their rebate,” Mississippi Department of Revenue spokesperson Kathy Waterbury said. “Usually, they wait until they get a sense for their final costs and it often takes a while.”

Here are some locations the production crew had to avoid to keep audiences from seeing the Magnolia State, along with our suggestions for other movies that could be filmed here:

The Old Courthouse Museum, Vicksburg

TOWERING ABOVE: Vicksburg’s Old Courthouse Museum is one of the historic city’s most dramatic landmarks.

Vicksburg’s Old Courthouse was built in 1858 and was the place where Confederate president Jefferson Davis launched his political career. The courtroom is still intact. Maybe there’s a book by Mississippi native John Grisham that hasn’t been turned into a movie that would need a court room. Or how about “My Cousin Vinny 2?” Someone call Joe Pesci.

The Old Capitol Museum, Jackson

PHOTO BY: Steve Wilson

SCENIC DOME: Mississippi’s Old Capitol is a museum after a lengthy post-Hurricane Katrina renovation.

The Old Capitol is now a museum in Jackson and was the state’s center of government from 1839-1903, surviving the Civil War and Hurricane Katrina. Maybe it could double as the Vatican or the U.S. Capitol?

The Crossroads, Clarksdale

PHOTO BY: Wikimedia Commons

CROSSROADS: The crossroads of U.S. 61 and U.S. 49 is where, according to legend, blues singer Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil.

According to legend, blues legend Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil at this famous crossroads near Clarksdale. In the 1970s, Charlie Daniels sang about the Devil going down to Georgia. No Charlie, he made a pit stop in Mississippi first.

Elvis Presley’s birthplace, Tupelo

PHOTO BY: Steve Wilson

HOME OF THE KING: Elvis Presley’s birthplace was a simple shotgun house in Tupelo.

Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock N’ Roll” was born in a modest shotgun house in Tupelo. The home is now preserved as a museum. Obviously, a Presley biopic would fit here nicely.

Windsor Ruins, Claiborne County

PHOTO BY: Steve Wilson

MAGNIFICENT RUINS: The Windsor Ruins are all that remains of one of the state’s largest homes that burned down.

The Windsor Ruins, located in Claiborne County near the campus of Alcorn State University, is all that remains of the largest house ever to be built in Mississippi. It survived the Civil War only to burn down in 1890 thanks to an errant smoker. Maybe it could be the ruins of the Parthenon, but the pine and oak trees would probably give it away.

Biloxi Lighthouse, Biloxi

PHOTO BY: Steve Wilson

SHINING LIGHT: The Biloxi LIghthouse is one of the most famous structures on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The Biloxi Lighthouse was built in 1848 and was one of the first cast-iron lighthouses erected in the South. The lighthouse has survived Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge in 2005 and was given a complete restoration. With some CGI touches, it could be the rocky coast of Maine.

Illinois Memorial, Vicksburg

PHOTO BY: Steve Wilson

MEMORIAL: The Illinois Memorial at the Vicksburg National Military Park is one of the striking monuments at the famous battlefield.

The Illinois Memorial at the Vicksburg National Memorial was built in 1906 to honor the service of soldiers from the state in the Battle of Vicksburg. It was modeled after a Greek temple.

Dunleith, Natchez

PHOTO BY: Wikimedia Commons

MAGNIFICENT SPLENDOR: Dunleith is an antebellum mansion in Natchez and is one of the city’s most historic homes.

Dunleith is one of many historic homes in Natchez and is now a bed and breakfast. Dunleith was built in 1856 and the 40-acre site has historic buildings dating from the 1790s. If you need an antebellum home in your movie, this beautiful house is your ticket.

Rowan Oak, Oxford

PHOTO BY: Wikimedia Commons

THE SOUND AND THE FURY: Mississippi’s most famous author, William Faulkner, lived at Rowan Oak near Oxford.

Rowan Oak was the home of Mississippi’s most famous author, William Faulkner. The author refurbished the 1844 house, built by Robert Sheegog. A film version of “As I Lay Dying” was filmed in Mississippi.

The Parsonage, Natchez

PHOTO BY: Steve Wilson

STATELY HOME: The Parsonage is one of the many historic homes in Natchez.

The Parsonage was built on land donated by the owner, Peter Little, of one of Natchez’s other stately antebellum homes, Rosalie, in 1852.

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