Maury City converts into temporary Tinseltown for film

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CROCKETT COUNTY, Tenn. — A Los Angeles film crew has set up shop in Crockett County. Maury City residents said the production has brought a face lift and economic boom to the town. Residents remember when First Street, a modern day series of abandoned shops, was a “happening place.” Loretta Bushart grew up in Maury City. “I watched it go from a thriving town to a ghost town,” she said. The so-called ghost town is now a movie town. “Brave New Jersey” is using the main street as a filming location. Allene Short has had a beauty shop on First Street for more than 55 years. She said film crews are a welcome sight. “They bring a little life into town,” she said. Short says she was a little shocked by the decision to film in Maury City. “Brave New Jersey” is a comedy period piece — “An end-of-the-world, alien invasion comedy … where the aliens never show up,” Producer Taylor Williams wrote in an email to WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News. The film looks at several characters in a small New Jersey town as they hear and deal with the aftermath of Orson Welles’ infamous 1938 radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds.” Although based in Los Angeles, Williams said he has family ties to Crockett County. “Part of the allure was my love for West Tennessee,” Williams said. His father is from Memphis and his mother attended Alamo High School, he said. As part of filming, new signs and decor have been added to several abandoned buildings. Donnie Walters has owned Uncle Donnie’s Furniture and More since 2005. He hopes once filming wraps, Maury City won’t be left on the cutting room floor. “Even after they leave, they’ll continue to drive down and see what’s going on,” Walters said. “Hopefully get some more businesses in downtown Maury City. We could use them.” Walters, who specializes in finding and selling antiques, said the production crew purchased some items from him to use as props. “I’m not getting rich off of it,” he said, laughing. “But every little bit helps in a little dead town. As you can see, it doesn’t move very much.” Other locations for filming include Friendship and Green Frog. “Brave New Jersey” is expected to finish filming June 26. Several local residents have been cast as extras. The film is scheduled for release in the fall of 2016.

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