News Column

Movie version of Trigiani's novel to be filmed in Big Stone Gap

September 20, 2013


Sept. 20--After years of holdups and hurdles, Virginia author Adriana Trigiani is on the cusp of doing what she has promised for more than a decade: filming a movie version of her novel "Big Stone Gap" in her hometown.

Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Thursday that filming would begin this fall in the mountain town in Southwest Virginia.

"We are proud of her continuing success as a writer and are thrilled that her uplifting tribute to her hometown will be brought to life on the screen," McDonnell said of Trigiani in a statement.

"Big Stone Gap," published in 2000, was the first of her series of books about the small town in Wise County. The novel tells the story of Ave Maria Mulligan, the town's spinster pharmacist, and is filled with an array of eccentric characters.

No announcement was made Thursday about the cast for the movie, although Trigiani said in 2008, when the making of the film appeared imminent, Ashley Judd would star as Mulligan, and Whoopi Goldberg and Lewis Black would also play roles. Trigiani said earlier this year that she wasn't sure if those earlier casting plans would still hold true. Rosanne Cash has said she would write the music.

Virginia Film Office Director Andy Edmunds acknowledged in the governor's statement that his office has worked for "many years" to bring the project to fruition and that he "couldn't be happier that it will be made in Virginia."

"Films have a positive impact on travel and tourism," he said. "Having a film by a popular author like Adriana that is shot in the exact place depicted in the book is the perfect opportunity to shine a spotlight on the beauty of Southwest Virginia."

Big Stone Gap Town Manager Pat Murphy said the community is "thrilled to be a part of this exciting opportunity."

The governor's statement said the movie will be eligible for film incentives up to $600,000 based on the amount of money the production company spends in Virginia, and also is eligible for a $300,000 grant from Virginia's Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission.

Trigiani, the author of 14 books, the latest of which is "The Shoemaker's Wife," grew up in Big Stone Gap, part of a large Italian-American family that has inspired many of her books. She lives in New York with her husband and daughter.

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