October 27, 2020

You’ll never look at a basement the same again; Mississippi-filmed ‘Ma’ opens Friday

NATCHEZ — If you are brave enough to take your eyes off “Ma” you might identify a few Mississippi landmarks when the psychological thriller opens in movie theaters across the country on Friday.

Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions earlier this year released the movie trailer for the film directed by Tate Taylor and starring Octavia Spencer. The film was produced by Taylor’s partner John Norris. Taylor and Norris live in the Church Hill community north of Natchez.

Although the film’s story takes place in Ohio, Southwest Mississippi residents may recognize many Natchez area scenes, including the Alcorn State School of Business, businesses on East Franklin Street, the Natchez City Cemetery, Magnolia Bluffs Casino and the recently closed Bowie’s Tavern.

The movie was filmed in Natchez last February, and Spencer portrays a woman who befriends a group of teenagers looking for someone to buy them booze. Spencer’s character who likes to be called “Ma” invites them to hang out in her basement.

Things take a decidedly creepy turn when Ma’s friendliness turns into obsession and the teenagers realize they are in way over their heads.

Spencer has starred in several movies directed by Taylor, including the James Brown biopic “Get on Up,” which was also filmed in Natchez and Jackson in 2013, and “The Help.” Spencer won an Academy Award for her performance in that movie.

“Ma” also stars “August: Osage County” star Juliette Lewis, “Beauty and the Beast” star Luke Evans, “Hart of Dixie” star McKaley Miller.