Filming begins Monday on Spring Breakers, but like some real-life spring breakers, the movie is taking a detour before reaching St. Pete Beach.
Writer-director Harmony Korine (Kids, Gummo) is expected to spend five days shooting at Sarasota's Ringling College of Art and Design, according to Christine Meeker-Lange, the college's director of marketing and communications.
Korine will film scenes with former Disney starlets Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson of TV's Pretty Little Liars and Glee's Heather Morris, playing students planning a road trip leading to trouble with a drug and arms dealer.
That criminal role belongs to Oscar nominee James Franco (127 Hours), who will skip Sarasota and join the production later in St. Pete Beach.
Spring Breakers' starting date in St. Pete Beach is unclear. However, it is logical that the production will move there over next weekend, with cameras rolling as soon as March 12 at an as-yet undisclosed location.
During a recent interview promoting Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Hudgens, 23, discussed filming Spring Breakers in Florida:
"I'm finally going to be able to have my college spring break experience," she told inquirer.net.
"But it's not the instant spring break my character kind of had planned. It turns a bit violent, and extremely wild, but it's a fun ride. Kind of a spin on how you see guys in college getting crazy, and you finally get to see girls do their crazy rampage as well."
Meeker-Lange said exteriors will be filmed on campus, in addition to scenes in student residences and a laundry room.
"We don't have the details of who is shooting when," Meeker-Lange said Wednesday. "I think that's purposeful and I appreciate that. We want them to have the best experience possible."
That means increased security around the college, which will be closed for its own spring break. "A lot of our students will be gone," Meeker-Lange said. "The timing couldn't be more perfect. However, as you can imagine, students may hang around because of (the filming)."
After all, filmmakers are what dozens of Ringling students are studying to be.
Ringling's digital filmmaking program already ranks among the worlds finest, according to a 2011 survey in Hollywood Reporter. Nineteen graduates including co-director Brandon Oldenburg worked on The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, that Sunday won an Academy Award for best animated short.
Several current Ringling students are expected to get involved with Spring Breakers, as production interns, extras and possibly building props and set
"We've had small shoots here — TV programs, commercial shoots, magazine photo shoots," said Meeker-Lange. "In this case, it just kind of takes it the next step. ... Everyone is very excited and interested in being kind of a fly on the wall to watch it take place."
Steve Persall can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365.