by Alejandro de los Rios
(NOTE: I mean to put this up earlier but, well, I didn't. Here it is now.)
OK, so this post's title really only applies to one of the people in this photo (the man in the black fleece jacket). Can you guess who it is?
I'll give you a hint: think shrimp. You know? The fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich.
Give up? Well the man with the bemused look on his face is none other than Mykelti Williamson a.k.a. Pvt. Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue of "Forrest Gump" fame. Seeing as how it's not every day you get to talk to one of the iconic figures of 1990's cinema, I chatted up Williamson about the Hornets and his current project.
Williamson is down in New Orleans filming "Final Destination 4," turns out they actually wrapped early so that he and other cast and crew members could make it to the game. One of the other cast members include the blurry-faced chap sitting next to Williamson in the picture. His name is Bobby Campo and is the film's lead, but was not identified on the jumbotron. I asked Campo what is was like to not be the most famous person in a movie he's starring in.
"This is a lot more fun," he said. "He gets bothered all the time while I just sit back and relax."
Both Williamson and Campo raved about the Hornets, whether or not it was authentic or if they were hyping up the hometown team to a hometown reporter is hard to tell. It was clear though that they were genuinely having a good time. Both Williamson and Campo are from the south (the former from St. Louis, Mo. and the latter from Tampa, Fla.) and both said being down here was like coming up.
I, for one, thought that Williamson was from the Gulf Coast or a southern bayou. That's either a testament to his acting ability in "Forrest Gump" or to my idiocy (probably a little of both). I did ask, though, if he likes the cuisine over at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
"I've never been," he said. "They owe me money."
I was a bit confused, forgetting that the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. actually had no affiliation with the movie.
"I'm not going there until they pay me," Williamson said again. That left me wondering if the rest of the people associated with Forrest Gump hold a similar stance.
With the playoffs starting tomorrow, expect a lot of celebrities to be in attendance as there are somewhere between eight and twelve movies in production right now in the Big Easy. David Ellis, the director of "Final Destination 4" said that all of the incentives that the city of New Orleans and the film commission are giving companies is making the decision easy for people to come. Ellis told the producers of "Final Destination 4" that he specifically wanted to shoot in New Orleans.
"I'm bringing my next film here," he said. "I thought this was a great place to put our money. We're investing in the city and in the recovery."
To wit, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of jobs made available through all the movies that decided to film down here. In a way, it's almost like the NBA All-Star game coming down to the city. They both keep New Orleans in the public eye and stimulate the economy.
So long as it means more pseudo-celebrities from my childhood showing up to Hornets games and talking to me, I say keep 'em coming.