NEW ORLEANS -- Sitting near the New Orleans streetcar line aboard a van equipped with video screens and a speaker system, tourists watch actress Vivien Leigh ride the city’s vintage electric rail vehicles in a scene from the 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire.
In the French Quarter, passengers look on as Bruce Willis escapes attackers outside a praline shop in the 2010 film Red. They also watch a young Kirsten Dunst bite into a woman’s neck in Jackson Square in one of her early roles as a bloodthirsty child vampire in 1994’s Interview With a Vampire.
A multimedia tour being offered in New Orleans takes passengers to locations where famous movie scenes were filmed and shows them a clip from the film on site. The tour also includes peeks at the New Orleans homes of actors Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock and John Goodman.
Besides the tourist-heavy French Quarter, New Orleans Movie Tours includes stops in lesser-known neighborhoods such as Treme and the Faubourg Marigny. Clips from those neighborhoods include an action-packed fight sequence with Jean-Claude Van Damme in 1993’s Hard Target and scenes from 2004’s Ray about the life of singer Ray Charles, which landed Jamie Foxx an Academy Award.
The HBO television series Treme, which frequently films in both the Treme and Faubourg Marigny neighborhoods, is also in the tour.
The tour is approximately two hours long, includes popcorn, and is packed with location stops and clips from roughly 30 films shot in New Orleans, among them 2008’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button starring Pitt, 1965’s The Cincinnati Kid with Steve McQueen and Ann-Margret, 1969’s Easy Rider with Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda, and 1958’s King Creole starring Elvis Presley.
New Orleans Movie Tours was launched last year by the husband-wife team of Jonathan and Michelle Ray, movie lovers from Willington, Conn., who moved to New Orleans roughly 10 years ago.
“We fell in love with the culture, the music, the people, the food, basically everything that we didn’t have in Connecticut,” Jonathan Ray said.
The couple followed the growing film culture in the city, he said.
Since Louisiana film tax credits were introduced in 2002, movie production hubs have popped up in cities across the state, including Shreveport, Lafayette and Baton Rouge. But New Orleans continues to see most of the activity. Last year alone, roughly 45 projects — almost half of all those filmed in the state — were shot in the New Orleans area.
“If there’s something filming, we try to include it on the tour, so the tour can change slightly from day to day,” Jonathan Ray said.