Lincoln crew will soon start film preparations

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Film director Steven Spielberg and his team will be in Richmond in a few weeks to prepare to shoot the movie Lincoln this fall. The Virginia Film Office expects the production to spend tens of millions of dollars in the local economy.

Pleasant's Hardware is the go-to store for the sets on many local film productions, including the recent "Unanswered Prayers."

"They buy a lot of paint, prep work, nuts and bolts, fasteners for helping them construct things. Sometimes they'll come in and borrow product if they just need to create a backdrop," said Pleasant's President Jim Hatcher.

Hatcher is ready for Lincoln. He's even got door knobs and drawer pulls that look like they're right out of the 1860's.

"This film is on par with John Adams," said Rita McClenny, Film Commissioner at the Virginia Film Office, referring to the mini-series shot in Virginia a few years ago. "So it will be about the same amount of spending. When John Adams was in Richmond, they had a $100 million budget. They spent about $80 million in the area."

The Lincoln film will create jobs for some local actors, 3000 extras, and 300 crew members. The Blankenship Company in Richmond has been hired to build the sets. Lincoln staff toured potential offices on West Broad Street and New Millennium Studios in Petersburg. The crew will need to buy costumes and antiques. They'll rent cars, storage spaces, and hotel rooms.

"I'll go back to John Adams as an example. They had about 16,000 room nights, as part of the production. But it's not just hotel and motel," said McClenny.

Big names associated with the film will typically spend thousands of dollars renting private homes while they're shooting in town. Hillary Swank stayed at the Adam Craig home in Church Hill when she was shooting a movie back in 2002.

Most businesses are mum. The realtor who's looking for high end rentals is not talking. Style Weekly reported Europa was scouted as a possible restaurant hang out, but Europa's owner tells us she doesn't know anything about that.

But one thing is for sure. Lincoln comes with tens of millions for the local economy.

"It's not only the production company itself, but they bring a lot of individuals in and those people may be staged here temporarily and they'll come in and shop with us as well," said Hatcher.

A big return for the state's investment of $4.6 million in tax cuts and incentives.

Virginia beat out Georgia, North Carolina, and Massachusetts to land the Lincoln production.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.