Academy Award-Winning Actress Wants To Shoot In Oklahoma

Thursday, October 11th 2007, 3:29 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Academy Award-winning actress Holly Hunter, who plays a hard-charging Oklahoma City police detective in a new television series, said Thursday she hopes some scenes can be filmed here.

Hunter plays the promiscuous, booze-swilling detective Grace Hanadarko in the show ``Saving Grace,'' which debuted in July on TNT. She and other members of the show's cast and crew were in Oklahoma City Thursday.

``We love Oklahoma City,'' Hunter said. ``We're here with the hope of being able to shoot our series here, in part, and kind of brand Oklahoma City, expand the scope of the stories we want to tell and just include the city with the characters.''

Hunter and Oklahoma City native Nancy Miller, the producer and writer for ``Saving Grace,'' were presented keys to the city by Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett.

Miller said the network already has ordered 15 new episodes for a second season, and she'd like to shoot scenes from some of those shows in Oklahoma City.

``That's what we hope, but we need help with our budget in order to shoot here,'' Miller said. ``We've already got scenes in our mind along the Oklahoma River, at the (Oklahoma City) Museum of Art, at Bricktown _ that's what we're hoping.''

The first season was filmed primarily at a studio in Los Angeles, and Miller said there is little incentive for the network to spend extra money to film in Oklahoma City.

``There's not a film infrastructure here in Oklahoma City, so we have to bring up the crew and the equipment from Dallas,'' Miller said. ``Unfortunately, we've proven that we can shoot a successful show, set in Oklahoma City, in Los Angeles.

``This is a personal thing for us,'' she added. ``(Oklahoma City) is already a character, but we could make it a lead character.''

Jill Simpson, director of the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, said featuring Oklahoma City in a popular television show would be great exposure for the city.

``We see this as a way to brand Oklahoma City in a similar way that the (New Orleans) Hornets did for us, and to get that updated image of Oklahoma City to a national and international audience,'' Simpson said. ``At least 6 million viewers are watching every week now, and we expect those numbers to grow, so what better way to update our image than through a show like this?''

Simpson said the program would quality for a state-offered 15% cash rebate on any money spent on goods and services during filming, and that tax rebates also are available.

Cornett was hesitant to pledge city funds for the project, but said he's optimistic some funding could be generated.

``The state of Oklahoma is traditionally the funding source for the film industry ... and we're also trying to get the business community involved,'' Cornett said. ``I wouldn't necessarily expect the City of Oklahoma City to use city tax dollars to incentivize it, but that doesn't mean we can't make it happen.''

Hunter, who won an Oscar in 1993 for her role as the mute bride in ``The Piano,'' also has ties to Oklahoma _ her mother was born in Shawnee and her father was born in Oklahoma City. She said she also has relatives from Lexington.