Building movies, not rockets
Patrick Mulhearn, director of studio operations at Raleigh Studios Baton Rouge, says there's not a single place in Louisiana, or even the Gulf South, that can come close to matching the 150,000 total square feet of stage space that he can offer. Except one: NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility.
Because they're not building booster rockets at Michoud, NASA has opened its doors to the film production business. The cavernous space and high ceilings mean the facility can host major films that might otherwise shoot at Raleigh. Mulhearn mentions Invertigo, a big-budget science fiction flick that he says will be based at Michoud; Ender's Game, based on a series of young-adult novels and starring Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley, began shooting there earlier this year.
“Some large projects have based out of there,” Mulhearn says. “It is tough for us to compete with them. The unlimited resources of the federal government make their operating costs very low. I've been told they've been able to undercut us and other stages in Louisiana that are private sector and purpose-built [for film].”
Big Easy Studios rents out space at Michoud, he says. Big Easy Studios and NASA did not respond to calls seeking comment.
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