Hollywood, or at least one Oscar winner, was in Villa Rica last week, as a production crew closed off a downtown street to film a scene for “Hap & Leonard,” a highly rated show broadcast on Sundance TV.
Louis Gossett Jr., who won the Academy Award in 1982 for his role in “An Officer and a Gentleman,” was among the actors and crew who blocked off most of West Wilson Street on Nov. 15 to film the scene, which took place in the alleyway between E.T. Doyal & Sons and Wear Me Again.
The scene was for the TV show “Hap & Leonard,” which is now filming its third season. The show is based on a series of novels by Joe Lansdale, and is currently the highest rated program on Sundance TV.
Film crews are making the trek to the west Georgia more and more frequently to take advantage of a tax break offered by the state and because the area is conveniently located to the Atlanta metro area.
Douglas County in particular has hosted numerous film projects, including the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things.” The county recently introduced a film trail that encourages tourists to visit places where their favorite movies and TV series have been filmed.
Gossett made himself available to sign autographs and pose for photographs with several Villa Rica residents during breaks in the filming.
Gossett, who was born in 1936, has been acting since he was 17 and has appeared on Broadway and several movies. But he didn’t become a household name until 1977, when he appeared in the role of Fiddler in the television miniseries “Roots,” a role that earned him an Emmy.
In 1982, his role as a gunnery sergeant in the film “An Officer and a Gentleman” won him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He was the first African-American man to win the Oscar in a supporting role, and the third African-American to be honored overall by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Gossett will play a recurring role in the third season of “Hap & Leonard.” The show is set in the late 1980s in a fictional East Texas town, and focuses on two men, Hap Collins (James Purefoy) and Leonard Pine (Michael K. Williams), as they solve crimes. The characters and stories are based on a series of nine novels written by author Joe Lansdale.
According to the Sundance TV website, Gossett’s role will be that of “Bacon,” a former veterinarian who is now a cook at a diner. The season will be based on Lansdale’s novel “The Two-Bear Mambo.”