Movie trucks returned to Baton Rouge and LSU on May 21, transporting the same cast and crew that turned the University into Barden University just two years ago.
The Bellas are back in the state’s capital.
“Pitch Perfect 2” is scheduled to be released May 15, 2015, and the film brings most of the cast and crew from the first film back to Louisiana.
“Baton Rouge has really provided me with some fabulous locations,” said production designer Toby Corbett. “It has a great landscape and it’s got the proper resources to make a movie. I’ve always enjoyed chances to film here.”
The film crew’s busiest day of work was Friday as hundreds of extras were brought to Highland Road Fairgrounds to film one of the final movies scenes. The filming lasted from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., and included a set most of the crew said was the largest they had worked on.
Corbett, the lone designer of the set, has been a production designer in more than 10 movies in the last decade and was nominated for an Emmy while working for the show “Tracy Takes On….” Corbett said about 150 men were required to assemble the set that contains more than 100 lights in and around the set.
Despite not being in front of the camera, Corbett says he finds his job very rewarding and worth the long hours. He said the ability to look at his films as finished projects and know he had a part in them makes his profession more than worth it.
“I find it to be a pretty exciting job. It’s a collaboration between so many different people,” Corbett said. “Beginning with myself and [film director and actress] Elizabeth [Banks], and our cinematographer Jim Denault, we’re kind of the triumvirate of people who get the vision going.”
“Pitch Perfect 2” is just the latest movie to be filmed in Baton Rouge, joining films such as “22 Jump Street” and “Jurassic World.” The surge in films has brought new opportunities in film to Baton Rouge residents, including actress Rachel Klein.
In “Pitch Perfect 2,” Klein is the stand in for Anna Kendrick, the film’s lead actress. Klein has been working in films since October and said she is proud of leaving her old job to work in films full time.
Klein graduated from LSU with a degree in finance in 2012, and quickly got a job in finance that she maintained for about a year. But once she stared doing films, she left the job to pursue something new and different to her life.
“My first day on set, I pretty much fell in love with it,” Klein said. “I decided that this was really something that I wanted to do, and I wasn’t happy with my office job, doing the same thing every day. I needed a change.”
People could sign up as extras for the shooting on Friday by registering online with one of the film’s websites. Extras Sydnee Fowler and Katie Scheyder travelled all the way from Fayetteville, Ark., to the park just to be a part of the film.
The two were big fans of the original “Pitch Perfect” and decided to make the trip after hearing about the event on Twitter. Staying at a hotel in New Orleans, Scheyder said getting to see the set made the trip worth it.
Other extras, such as Baton Rouge resident Stephen Hagen, heard about the event through websites like mycastingfile.com. On websites like mycasting, background casting companies post listings for films being shot in the area, and viewers can register for the films that interest them.
The website has helped Hagen serve as an extra in “Jurassic World” and in a pilot episode of a CBS television series. Like Klein, Hagen feels blessed about the recent influx of films coming into the Baton Rouge area.
But more than that, Hagen is just happy to be on movie sets. He said there is a certain wonder in creating movies, and he is glad to be in a place that makes so many of them.
“It’s quite magical to me. I get a certain excitement from being on sets like this,” Hagen said. “Even if I might not be having the greatest day, inevitably the environment takes over. They call it ‘movie magic’ for a reason.”