HBO asks Avondale Estates to waive filming restriction for Anita Hill film
HBO is filming “Confirmation,” a movie about the nomination of Judge Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court and the sexual harassment allegations leveled against him by Anita Hill.
But they’re bumping up against Avondale Estates’ restrictions on when HBO’s crews can film in the city. Currently, Avondale Estates has imposed a 10 p.m. cut-off time on the filming. That won’t leave the crews with much time to shoot a nighttime scene, according to Dodd Vickers the film’s key assistant location manager.
The film permit applicants attended the Avondale Estates City Commission work session on July 15 to push for an extension that would allow filming to continue until 1:30 a.m. Filming is scheduled to take place July 20 through July 23 at 32 Wiltshire Drive. Vickers said in a letter to commissioners that contracts are in place with residents on the block between Sussex Road and Dartmouth Avenue.
“There are a few night scenes that are critical to our project and given that sunset is typically not until 9 p.m., this time limit places an extreme hardship on us,” the letter states. “These scenes are set at night due to their connection to other already photographed scenes (telephone conversations). None involve amplified sound, large equipment or extensive lighting.”
Despite assurances, some commissioners weren’t ready to give the the crews the OK to film past the 10 p.m. deadline.
“I am a little concerned about the hour,” Commissioner Lindsay Forline said. “Not, to be honest, with your project. We had something (filmed) on Lakeshore that was not supposed to be the way it ended up being, and it was not a fun week for those residents.”
Forlines asked if the applicants were willing to accept a compromise, and they responded that midnight might be doable.
City Manager Clai Brown said in his experience, start and stop times can be influenced by several factors.
“What happens if the crew doesn’t show up because there’s a flat tire,” Brown said, giving one example of how filming might go on later than anticipated.
Mayor Pro Tem Terry Giager said he was undecided on whether to approve the time extension.
“I understand we had a 24-hour shoot up the street from me a year and a half ago,” Giager said. “It went all night. It wasn’t part of our city. I went to sleep. I didn’t wake up. I did see the part where you said you had contracts and talked to everybody on the street. I need to make sure I feel comfortable with it.”
Commissioners could consider the appeal at their meeting on Monday, July 20.
Commissioner Randy Beebe sounded supportive of the applicants’s request and joked that he’d like a credit in the movie.
“I think this kind of stuff is good for the city,” Beebe said.
“Confirmation” stars Kerry Washington as Anita Hill and Wendell Pierce as Clarence Thomas, according to Internet Movie Database.
The film’s actors also include Jennifer Hudson as Angela Wright and Greg Kinnear as Joe Biden.