'Footloose' set to film in Covington

COVINGTON -- Covington, get ready to cut loose -- "Footloose."

Filming of the remake of the popular 1984 film about a city boy who moves to a small town and gets a bad case of culture shock is taking place in Georgia, and location scouts have their eyes set on the Newton County Historic Courthouse for a courtroom scene.

Chairman Kathy Morgan got a consensus from the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night to agree to a request to film on Sept. 17, 20 and 21. The county will be paid around $13,000 for use of the facility. That includes a $5,000 inconvenience fee for having to reschedule or move the Board of Commissioners meeting scheduled for Sept. 21.

The film, directed by Craig Brewer, stars Dennis Quaid, two-time "Dancing With the Stars" champion Julianne Hough and Kenny Wormald as Ren McCormack, the role originally made famous by Kevin Bacon.

Morgan said the film industry brings money to the county long after crews have packed up and gone home, attracting tourists curious to see where their favorite movies have been shot.

"We want to be a film-friendly community and have a reputation for being easy to work with," Morgan told the board.

On Thursday, Morgan said that the agreement to film at the courthouse has not yet been finalized.

"We do not have a contract signed, but we have tentatively agreed to save those dates," she said via e-mail.

In other news, the cost for civic organizations to rent the courthouse or the conference room of the Newton County Administrative Building after normal business hours is increasing. The rental fee is being hiked from $280 to $300 for a four-hour minimum, and from $70 to $75 for each additional hour. The fee covers the required cost of having two security guards present. The four-hour minimum rate must be made payable to Newton County when reservations are booked. The facilities can be reserved through the chairman's office.