True Blood’s Kenya: Tanya Wright Directs Her Screenplay “Butterfly Rising”

October 3, 2009 by  

24_twright1The Clarion Ledger in Mississippi recently talked with Tanya Wright, who plays the character Kenya on True Blood, about the production of her screenplay, “Butterfly Rising“. This movie was not only written by Tanya but directed by her as well. Tanya chose to shoot the film in Columbus, Mississippi. She had a meeting with a business partner in Columbus to go over some movies. She hadn’t planned to bring up “Butterfly Rising” but she remembers looking out the window and thinking it was the perfect place to make her movie.

“I was here, and we were talking about making a couple of movies. I had this script I wrote several years ago that was very dear to my heart. We actually weren’t going to make this one any time soon (but) I looked out the window one day and realized this is the perfect place to shoot this movie, just perfect in every way.”

Tanya wrote “Butterfly Rising” back in 2006 after the sudden loss of her brother.

“My brother, Barron Wright, died suddenly in 2005, and I was … changing, wide and deep. My attraction to butterflies during this period of my life was strong. A butterfly – with its four stages: egg, caterpillar, cocoon and, finally, butterfly – is the result of a metamorphosis, the complete transformation.”

Tanya’s screenplay involves the character, Lilah Belle who has recently lost her brother. She sets out to escape her grief by traveling to Newhope Mississippi, but first convinces the most scandalous woman in town, Rose Johnson, to go with her. Together the two women head out on the open road only to have a fated meeting with the mythical, magical Lazarus of the Butterflies, who will transform their destinies. Tanya shot the film from May 18 through June 12 with a mostly New York based crew. They shot the movie in two Victorian homes in Columbus, owned by Frank Loftis. They also used the Charles and Pam Easley’s home in Calcedonia, the Ye Olde Country Store in Steens, and Friendship Cemetery.

Yvonne Sanders and everybody at the Convention and Visitors Bureau were enormously helpful. They took detailed notes of what we needed, did the research and made sure every location was available for us.”

Wright will also star in her movie. The role of Lilah Belle will be played by McGee Monteith of Memphis and Wright will portray Rose Johnson. Most of the cast is from Memphis and Los Angeles. Some of the Columbus locals also got into the action. Brooks Berry, a Columbus local, will portray Lilah’s brother. Other locals that will be used as extras in a fish fry scene are Nathan Best, Pam Easley, and her daughter Ali Mara. Right now “Butterfly Rising” is in the final editing stages. Wright plans to stay in the area until January when True Blood production begins again. Plans are in progress for film festivals and distribution of the film.

SOURCE:  The Clarion Ledger

Photo Credit:  HBO Inc.