Wanna Be On Set? Your Guide To Movie Locations In Nashville

Are you ready for your close-up, dahhhhling?.

You may not have the crazy eyes of Gloria Swanson, but with the Oscars coming up this Sunay, we’re all secretly posing for the big screen. Whether you’re rooting for Redmayne or Cumberbatch (the Best Actor nominees who have cornered the market on talented pale guys with funny last names), we know you’ll be tuning in. Sure, the film hub is mostly NYC and LA, but Music City is reppin’ us pretty hard in the film industry these days. So many iconic films have Nashville as the backdrop, and we couldn’t be more proud. Go on your own mini-walking tour of Hollywood’s biggest hits right here in the ville’, because we’re about to tell you about some awesome Nashville filming locations:

Country Strong

College Student Extras, Gwyneth Saaangin’, & Blair Waldorf Hangin’ On Lower Broad

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WHEN THEY FILMED:

2010

THE NASHVILLE LOW-DOWN:

Gwyneth Paltrow plays Kelly, a platinum blonde country superstar on the mend from a nasty addiction problem. Her husband/manager (husbager?), played by everyone’s favorite real-life country hunk Tim McGraw, is bringing the Taylor Swift-esque up and comer on tour with Kelly (played by Gossip Girl vet Blair Waldorf). On top of all of that, a mysterious/tormented guitarist (we all know one of those) is thrown into the mix (played by Garrett Hedlund).

The movie was filmed all over Nashville, and a ton of college students from around town participated in the huge concert scenes filmed at War Memorial Auditorium, The Stage, and Bridgestone Arena. And let us tell you, college students make the perfect extras – long hours, less-than-stellar pay? No problem, as long as they got to catch a glimpse of the lady behind GOOP. Another up side to the Nashville location? Endless amounts of musicians to include in the fictional bands (local artist Amanda Shires was one of many musicians featured in Gwyneth Paltrow’s fake band). The premiere was hosted at Regal 27 Green Hills, and it brought out the best: Tobey McGuire, Faith Hill, James Marsden, and more. The stars were seen all around town (check out Gwyneth’s Nashville tips here), and we loved it. Because we are COUNTRY STRONG.


Ernest Goes To Camp (And All The Other Ernest Movies)

Nashville Admen, 30 Second Commercials, & The Creation Of An Adored American Character

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WHEN THEY FILMED:

The classic funnyman started his legacy in the early 1980s.

THE NASHVILLE LOW-DOWN:

Ernest went to a lot of places. Camp. Jail. The Army. A basketball court to face off against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. What you may not know is that the comedy golden boy of the 80s/90s was a Nashvillian! The whole thing started with a local Nashville ad man, John “Buster” Cherry, hiring Jim Varney for a commercial spot designed to save a defunct amusement park. The ad became so popular that Varney became famous for his character “Ernest”, featured prominently on 30 second commercials all over the US. He got the attention of the head honchos at Disney, and they signed him on for what would become a wildly popular franchise. All 10 films were directed by original champion Cherry, and they continuously filmed in Nashville. The late Varney left a charitable legacy, setting up an annual scholarship for aspiring actors to attend his alma mater, UCLA. It was kept in the Music City family in 2013 when a student from Hillsboro High one the award. Nashville pride! Cherry wrote a book on his time with Varney (you should check out Parnassus Books for a copy) called “Keeper Of The Clown: My Life With Ernest”.


The Green Mile

Tom Hanks Chillin’ In The ‘Ville & The Johnny Cash Prison

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WHEN THEY FILMED:.

1998

THE NASHVILLE LOW-DOWN:

Tom Hanks is about as close to old Hollywood royalty as you can get these days, and in 1998 he spent some much-needed time in Music City, USA. The critically acclaimed movie “The Green Mile” tells the story of a prison guard in charge of inmates on Death Row during The Great Depression (based on the book by Stephen King, who has said the movie is the only true film representation of any of his books). They filmed all over the place, but Nashville snagged the most important spot – the prison. Tennessee State Penitentiary is in West Nashville, and is featured in many films (Last Dance with Sharon Stone, the Folsom Prison Joaquin Phoenix sings at in Walk The Line). Closed down in 1992, the prison is closed to the public, but you can still drive by and take pictures of this piece of cinematic and actual history! Another prominent scene (we won’t spoil anything, but the scene where the late great Michael Clarke Duncan was discovered) was filmed in Buffalo Valley just by the old train bridge across from the Caney Fork River. Hanks was seen traipsing around Nashville with his costars, and we just wish we could have hung out with him because he’s the coolest ever (if you haven’t seen this video of him wearing a yamika dancing to “This Is How We Do It”, fix that immediately).


Blue Like Jazz

A Rager Of A Party Scene & After-Hours Cafe Coco Hangtime

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WHEN THEY FILMED:

Pretty recently – in 2012!

THE NASHVILLE LOW-DOWN:

Donald Miller’s best seller, Blue Like Jazz, has always been a Nashville favorite. When Miller had the vision for a film version, he had to look no further than Nashville’s best – famed director Steve Taylor, true Nashvillian and the man behind several entertainment success stories (ex: the music video for Sixpence None The Richer’s smash hit “Kiss Me”). Between Miller, Taylor, and an impressive fundraising effort, the movie was a go.A casting call was sent out to the universities around town for extras in the key party scene, set to go waaaay late into the night. Seriously, if you’ve been in or even remotely close to a college campus in the last 5 years, you’ve seen someone who was in Blue Like Jazz.

The fictional rager was shot on a big lawn near the Edgehill area, and Donald Miller walked around passing out solo cups (filled with water, of course). After the long hours of filming, the cast, crew, and extras headed to Cafe Coco and had some quality hang time that lasted all night. It definitely was a Nashville party, and the movie is great.

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Bits & Pieces

The Matrix Skyline, Johnny Knoxville In Columbia, & One Of Robin Williams’ Last Films

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WHEN THEY FILMED:

These films featured bits and pieces of our lovely city, and they span decades. We got longevity, y’all.

THE NASHVILLE LOW-DOWN:

Daltry Calhoun – Quention Tarantino was the executive producer, and the film’s star Johnny Knoxville was all over Columbia, TN. Fun fact: we heard he’s awesome, and even tossed the football with extras in between takes.

The Matrix – OK, so Keanu didn’t log a ton of time in Nashvegas, but the Trinity rooftop scene features the Nashville skyline.

The Hannah Montana Movie – Back then, Miley Cyrus was a Nashville girl through and through. Most of the beautiful, countrified scenery were filmed in Columbia, TN.

Boulevard – One of the last films of the late, truly great Robin Williams, who was seen all over Nashville (thanks to his Instagram) during his time filming. Williams was gracious to everyone he encountered, posing for selfies, supporting local business, and doing the downtown honky tonk scene (he loved him some Ernest Tubbs Record Shop). Another Nashville tie for Williams: the character he portrayed in “Dead Poet’s Society” was based on a teacher at Montgomery Bell Academy, the boy’s school that still exists today on West End Ave. We are so lucky to have hosted the amazing talent/kindness that was Robin, even briefly.


So get ready for Oscar season, Nashville, and take yourself on your very own Nashville-film-buff walking tour. We’ve got all the film events your heart could desire in Wannado (and more), so make sure you grab that so we can keep you in the loop! We’ll see you out there, superstars.