NASHVILLE — The upcoming Hannah Montana
movie will be filmed in Middle Tennessee and Los Angeles, a spokeswoman for The Walt Disney Co. said Thursday evening.
Filming will begin in early May with the movie scheduled for release May 1, 2009, according to spokeswoman Heidi Trotta.
Trotta did not provide details about the shoot.
State officials have been negotiating with Disney for at least six months to get the movie made in Tennessee.
"At one time, they were definitely going to Louisiana. Then it was between Louisiana and Tennessee, and then I was left with the impression that it definitely would be Tennessee," said Perry Gibson, executive director of the Tennessee Film and Entertainment Commission.
Gibson, whose office has been working on the project with the state Department of Revenue, still had not received confirmation from Disney as of Thursday afternoon.
Specifically, Gibson was waiting on an application from the company that would allow them to get incentives from the state for filming here.
The program offers rebates and sales-tax breaks to filmmakers based on a percentage of their in-state spending.
The film is based on the wildly popular Disney TV series. In the series, Miley Cyrus plays a high school student, Miley Stewart, who moves from Tennessee to Southern California and lives a secret double life as a pop star. Her real life father, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, also plays her father on the show.
The Cyrus family owns a large farm in Middle Tennessee and wanted the movie shot here. They film the series in Los Angeles.
"The issue is that Billy Ray and Miley would like for it to be in Tennessee, that way they can be at home when they're doing the filming," their business manager, Jim Humphres, said Thursday before learning that Disney had reached a decision.
Trotta said she didn't immediately know how much of the movie will be filmed in Tennessee.
The movie could be a boon for the state, both for tourism and local businesses, Gibson predicted.
"Miley Cyrus has 30 million fans, and fans have a way of visiting sites where films were made. Lord of Rings
has tripled tourism for New Zealand," Gibson said. "So we're looking at a favorable impact for the state in many areas."