Jackson State University students share experiences during the filming of ‘A Day to Die’

(JACKSON, Miss.) — Jackson, Mississippi, is the location for the movie filming of “A Day to Die,”a bank heist, starring A-list actor Bruce Willis. JSU students Krystánna Moore, Halle Coleman, Da’Naeja Porter and Chesha Lewis were among the chosen few who participated in the behind-the-scenes production.

JSU student Krystánna Moore, with actor Leon Robinson, takes a break during filming.

Business management major Krystánna Moore said, “I’ve always loved entertainment, and this experience was an eye-opening opportunity for me. I was also very excited to meet Leon Robinson, and my interest in pursuing a career in film has been tapped.”

The action film will feature explosions and shootouts in downtown Jackson. Curtis Nichouls is the film producer and has resided in the capital city for almost a decade. Movie sets are being constructed in JSU’s One Jackson Place and a movie scene was shot in the Downtown 101 Building. The 101 Building is JSU’s Downtown campus. It houses the Department of Alumni and Constituency Relations, the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, the Department of Public Policy and Administration, Mississippi Urban Research Center, and JSUOnline.

“I was enlightened by all the moving parts that go into making a movie,” says Halle Coleman, journalism and media studies major. “The lighting, set design and production were all impressive aspects that have encouraged me to possibly seek options in film after graduation.”

Da’Naeja Porter, business management major, said, “This was my first time on a movie set, and my experience was fun and informative.”

JSU grad student Chesha Lewis connects with actor Kevin Dillon behind the scenes of “A Day to Die.”

Chesha Lewis, graduate student in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies, said, “I consider my experience very valuable because my overall goal is to be a filmmaker.”

Former JSU professor Dr. Nadia Bodie-Smith is the production designer and art director for the film.

“We are creatives, and even through our exhaustion, we are grateful to have this opportunity in Jackson, Mississippi, Bodie-Smith said. “This talented team is meeting all the needs that come along with making movie magic, and that makes it all worthwhile for us.”

Work crews built Willis’ character Niles Alston’s bedroom along with a co-star’s bedroom and kitchen, trap house, hospital room, and a recreation of the Jackson Police Department.

The cast also includes Leon, George Lopez, Frank Grillo, Kevin Dillon, and former NFL player Vernon Davis.

“A Day to Die” is scheduled for release in February 2022.