NAUVOO, Ill. — History is being re-enacted, starting last Thursday and continuing through today, as a film crew from Utah films a portion of an upcoming movie about the life of Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ — Latter Day Saints.
The working title, according to director Ron Munns, is “Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration.”
About 100 production crew members, 25 actors and actresses and a couple of hundred extras have been in the community filming some of the scenes. They’ll return sometime in the winter and again in the spring to film scenes appropriate for those seasons.
Munn said the film is expected to premier on Dec. 23, 2005, at a large church theater in Utah. The film is not expected to be released commercially.
“We’re here because it’s a great historical village to film in,” Munn said. “The response to the people has been good. They’re great people. Joseph founded Nauvoo; you can’t do a film about Joseph without coming to Nauvoo.”
Rustin Lippincott, director of tourism in Nauvoo, said the movie is a big boost for the city.
“We’re excited that they’re here,” Lippincott said. “It’s neat to have this type of quality and magnitude here in Nauvoo. It’s a boost to our economy. This time of year, the (tourist) numbers start to dwindle.”
Lippincott said it also keeps the “excitement” going in the town and shows all the different things Nauvoo has to offer.
“It’s naturally important to the LDS, but it’s also important to us becauseit’s in an area where we call home,” he said.
Filming started in New Salem, Ill.
Although rain hampered some of the shooting last Thursday, Lippincott said that was when many of the inside scenes were shot.
Munns said the film will just encompass the life and death of Smith and not the spread of the religion’s followers to Utah. Smith was killed in 1844 at the Carthage jail.