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Posted: May 17, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Transforming into Selma

Covington’s Historic Courthouse gets a makeover for a Martin Luther King Jr. movie filming in Newton

Darrell Everidge /The Covington News/

A hotel is coming to the Covington Square, but it won’t be open to the public and will only stick around for one day.

The interior of the Historic Courthouse is getting a makeover for the movie “Selma,” the Martin Luther King Jr. biopic that will chronicle the historic Civil Rights marches from Selma, Alabama to the state capital in early 1965.

The main floor of the Courthouse is being turned into a 1960’s era hotel, replete with equipment and signage from the times.

“It’s pretty amazing,” county Chairman Keith Ellis said last week.

Front entrance will be closed Tuesday

Due to a scheduling mix-up, filming inside and in front of the Courthouse will take place Tuesday, including during the day and at night during the Newton County Board of Commissioners’ regularly scheduled meeting.

The Courthouse will remain open, but residents will need to enter through the building’s back entrance all day and for the night meeting, Ellis said.

For the Board meeting, Ellis said the county will try to provide a shuttle from the Newton County Judicial Center parking lot to the Courthouse.

“We’re trying to accommodate our guests from Hollywood,” Ellis said. “This is a big movie; it’s a big deal.”

The production company is paying the county $5,500 in rental fees for using the Courthouse; the money, as with previous film rental money, is going into a fund that’s used for county employees, Ellis said. Other businesses around the square will also be affected Tuesday, though specifics hadn’t yet been publicly announced.

Full filming schedule

The movie, which is being co-produced by Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt among others, will be filming in Newton County from May 20-22 and will close down some roads during that time so the crew can recreate the “feel of Selma, Alabama circa 1965,” including period cars and 60 extras, according to the filming permit filed by the production.

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