Categories Movies

Filming at prison for Hilary Swank movie wraps up this week

The Southern Michigan Correctional Facility is likely to become a little less crowded this week.

Filming for the Hilary Swank movie “Betty Anne Waters” is expected to wrap up at the correctional facility Wednesday, said John Cordell, Department of Corrections spokesman.

The facility, in Blackman Township, closed in 2007 after housing male prisoners for about a decade.

Two weeks ago, the two-time Academy Award-winning actress filmed scenes at the Jackson County Courthouse for the true-story drama about a single mom who earns her law degree to defend her wrongfully convicted brother. During filming, the building’s fourth floor was inaccessible to people without credentials.

Film crews will shoot footage at the Citizen Patriot building beginning later this week, said George Constas, a movie location scout who recently started working in Michigan.

On Thursday, crew members carried equipment off semitrailers stationed in the facility’s visitor parking lot and onto the closed set.

Cole Bouck, an administrative assistant to the regional prison administrator in Region III, said scenes will unfold in three primary areas of the building: The lobby of the Michigan Southern Correctional Facility, Cell Block 7 and an old gymnasium.

Representatives for Ann Arbor-based Innocence Productions Inc. worked with officials from the Michigan Department of Corrections to estimate shooting location costs. Cordell said officials will charge the filmmakers about $11,000, but the price could change if filming extends past Wednesday.

The fee covers utilities and wages for security and maintenance staff on-site during the 12-hour shoots, he said.

The facility shares its security features with two remaining active correctional facilities located north and south of the building, and is a reason for tightening security when Hollywood rolls in, Cordell said.

“I don’t get into security details, but we have enough security to make sure the production crew is safe and enough to make sure prisoners from the active facilities don’t try to gain access to the closed facilities,” Cordell said.

Although the facility has welcomed several production companies since closing more than a year ago, Cordell said the current production “is the most extensive use of this facility to date.”

“It’s been used for another film in early 2008 and then there’s been some documentary-type films,” Cordell said.