Lights, camera - Lincoln! The much-anticipated Steven Spielberg movie premiered in a special screening Thursday night at the Byrd Theater.
The movie, which was filmed in and around Richmond, is expected to be a box-office giant and Oscar contender! However, Lincoln has already proved to be a huge economic success for the Commonwealth. Filming Lincoln in Virginia brought in tens of millions of dollars in local revenue, through expenditures on hiring cast and crew, to buying props and supplies.
Many people in line at the Byrd Theater have a connection to the film - they benefited from helping to make it.
"I rigged the sound stage. We did all the special rigging for the camera movements," said crew member Kenneth Morton.
"I played a radical Republican Congressman. I'm one of Lincoln's people," said John Dever, an extra cast in the film.
Even Governor McDonnell played his role in getting director Steven Spielberg to spend money in Virginia.
"I picked up the phone on several occasions to call Steven Spielberg at Dreamworks in California, encouraging him and giving him the many reasons why Virginia was best place in world to film Lincoln movie," said Governor McDonnell at a press conference before the special screening of the movie.
Production of Lincoln brought $64 million to the Commonwealth.
"You could see it every day...a lot of people involved, from the actors to the electrical people, the crew, the cast, the carpenters... It was just an unbelievable experience," described Dever, of the many hands used during the making of the movie.
Lincoln paid for nearly 1,600 jobs and more than 23,000 hotel room nights. The Governor promises to continue rolling out the red carpet for movie productions. Last year, film making earned Virginia $400 million.
A Lincoln movie trail will launch this month as well. Tourists can walk in the footsteps of Spielberg and Abraham Lincoln at places the movie was shot.
Lincoln opens next Friday, November 16th!
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