The Devil All the Time

The Peerless Saloon and Grille in downtown Anniston is reportedly among the locations for a film to be shot locally later this month. (Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)

Production on a film called “The Devil All the Time” is set to begin in late February in Anniston and Jacksonville, according to city officials and location managers for the project.

Bass Hampton, a supervising location manager based in North Carolina, talked about an incoming film production during the Anniston City Council’s work session Feb. 5. He said locations included the Peerless Saloon and a house on Afton Brae Drive in eastern Anniston. The production would then head to Jacksonville, he said. He said the film is set in the 1940s to 1960s, but provided no other specifics. He left immediately after speaking to the council.

“Welcome to Anniston,” said Mayor Jack Draper, adding that the city is open to any new business opportunity.

This week, Jacksonville’s City Council declared the former police station and jail on Ladiga Street Southeast as surplus to allow “leasing and or sale of the property,” according to the agenda item.  

Jacksonville City Administrator Albertha Grant made reference to a film production company, Knockemstiff, during the council meeting Monday night. Council president Sandra Sudduth confirmed after the meeting that the former police station will be used in a film project.

“We were told someone wants to use it to make a film there but I’m not sure what it’s about,” Sudduth told a reporter.

A search online for “Knockemstiff” reveals it to be the name of a small town in Ohio and a short story collection by author Donald Ray Pollock, released in 2009, set in that town. “The Devil All the Time” is the the title of one of Pollock’s other books; according to ayahoo.com article from Jan. 16, a cinematic version is indeed a Netflix production set to be filmed in Alabama in February.

According to that story, the film stars Chris Evans, Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Bill Skarsgaard, Eliza Scanlen and Mia Wasikowska. The film is set after the end of World War II and has a release date in 2020. An imdb.com entry contains a full cast list and plot summary.

Hampton said during the Feb. 5 meeting in Anniston that there are varying levels of production budget, from low to “ultra,” and didn’t specify which his production would be. He did say, however, that it would have a positive economic impact.

“You’re going to see why movies cost so much; there are a whole lot of us,” Hampton said.

Attempts to reach Hampton by phone Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Eric Napier, a Birmingham-based location scout who attended the meeting with Hampton, provided a phone number for the production company, which he called Knockemstiff Inc.

The person who answered that line declined to provide any information about the company, a shooting schedule or further contact with a public relations office.

Tommy Fell, a location manager with the Alabama Film Office, confirmed by phone Monday that Hampton’s production was legitimate, and that work had started on securing locations in Anniston and Jacksonville.

“We’ve always had Anniston and the whole area of McClellan and Piedmont and Jacksonville on our radar,” Fell said. “We look forward to them coming here.”

An imdb.com search for Hampton showed credits that include “X-Men: First Class,” “Get Out,” “The Notebook” and “The Conjuring,” among others.

Assistant Metro Editor Ben Nunnally: 256-235-3560. 

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