States fight for 'Hannah Montana' movie
Singer Billy Ray Cyrus wants his daughter's upcoming "Hannah Montana" film to be shot in Tennessee, but state officials say they might not be able to offer the producers enough financial incentives.
The film based on the wildly popular Disney TV series is scheduled to start shooting in April and expected to be released in late 2008 or early 2009.
In the series, 14-year-old 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. Billy Ray Cyrus also plays her father on the show.
Cyrus said the movie is centered on the fictional Stewart family's return to Tennessee and it is only fitting for it to be shot in Tennessee as well. The real-life Cyrus family also has a home in Tennessee and was in town for Thanksgiving during a break on Miley Cyrus' sold-out tour.
"The thing of it is, Walt Disney really wants to film this movie in Tennessee," Billy Ray Cyrus said.
Perry Gibson, executive director of the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission, said the state could benefit from having the movie shot locally.
"It would mean a real impact on tourism and it would be a family friendly film that would come to the state," she said. But Tennessee is limited in what incentives it can offer, she said.
Louisiana has had an aggressive program in recent years to bring film business to that state.
The Tennessee agency is still waiting for details from Disney about what Louisiana is offering, Gibson said. The Tennessee program offers rebates and sales-tax breaks to filmmakers based on a percentage of their in-state spending.
Cyrus said he thinks Tennessee can compete for the film.
"Quite frankly, I think they are pretty close," he said.
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