Taniesa L. Sullivan | The Weekly Ledger News
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A film crew will be in Birmingham over the next couple of weeks, with the production of “Naima in Nashville,” a movie that is in the works for the Hallmark Channel.
Goleman Casting, a company with offices in Alabama and Mississippi, has mentioned filming for the TV movie several times on its Facebook page, and the production has been looking for stand-ins, background actors, and featured actors.
Jessica Moody, director of programs and operations for Film Birmingham and Create Birmingham, confirmed that the Hallmark movie is filming at various locations in the city through mid-December. Film Birmingham “serves as the film office for the Greater Birmingham region,” according to its website, and acts as “the primary liaison between film production and city agencies.”
The production team for “Naima in Nashville” has been spotted in Avondale and Southside over the past week, although details on the movie are scarce and a storyline hasn’t been revealed.
There appears to be a musical component to the movie, based on the casting notices from Goleman. Listings have sought actors to portray musicians in a recording studio, country line dancers, patrons at a country music bar (apparently subbing for Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon), and musicians in the hallway at a label called Berryhill Records.
Background roles as students, teachers, museum staffers, a church deacon, and a reverend have been mentioned, along with diners at a restaurant called Olivia’s Food Fixins.
“Naima in Nashville” will have a diverse cast, according to the listings from Goleman. Black actors and stand-ins are indicated in several of the casting notices, including what appear to be main characters and supporting characters.
Foley First, an audio post-production studio based in Turkey, lists “Naima in Nashville” as one of its scheduled projects.
It’s unclear if any stars will be included in the movie, but one casting notice from Goleman included a photo of actress and singer Roz Ryan (with a black bar placed over her eyes in the photo). The notice said “Naima in Nashville” was looking for an actress to play “Young Olivia,” or “a younger version of the actress in the picture. Must match for skin complexion and look.”
Goleman Casting didn’t identify the actress in the photo. AL.com was able to determine Ryan’s identity, based on her celebrity and the photo used in the Facebook post. Ryan posed for that photo in June 2016, while attending a Stars in the Alley event at Shubert Alley in New York City. The photo is included on the Getty Images website.
Ryan, 71, has appeared on Broadway in “Ain’t Misbehavin,” “Dreamgirls,” “Chicago” and more. She also has a long list of TV and movie credits, according to IMDB. She portrayed Aunt Sylvia on “The Rickey Smiley Show” in 2012-2014, for example, and was a key cast member of the WB series “All About the Andersons” in 2002-2004. Ryan hasn’t mentioned “Naima in Nashville” on her Instagram page or other social media, however, and she hasn’t been confirmed as a cast member.
Dates for filming in Birmingham run through Dec. 16, according to the casting notices from Goleman. Dates for filming in Nashville also are mentioned on Dec. 19-20. There’s no word yet on when the movie will air on the Hallmark Channel.