Filming for a movie about Nelson T. Gant, a former slave and self-made millionaire who resided in Zanesville, will take place at the Muskingum County Courthouse this Thursday. The courtroom scene will depict Gant, who was a free man, on trial for helping his wife Anna Maria escape from slavery.
"They were caught in Washington D.C., brought back to Leesberg, Virginia where Nelson then was put on trial for helping Anna Marie escape," said Dr. Anita Jackson, who will play the part of Anna Maria. "Of course that was against the law. There was the fear of him being imprisoned, perhaps being enslaved again."
Jackson says primarily white men are needed to sit in as jurors and both men and women are needed to sit in the audience. The Zanesville Community Theatre and the P.U.R.E. Center are lending 19th century style clothes for the filming.
"The building closes at 4:30, but they’re going to open it up around 5:30 for us. We would like to start filming around 6 o’clock. We’re hoping that we would be able to do this in about an hour, maybe an hour and a half. It depends on how many retakes we have to do. Hopefully we won’t have that many."
Jackson expects filming to be finished by the end of the year and hopes the movie will serve as an education tool for area schools. If you would like to be a part of the film and have Thursday evening free, you can call Dr. Anita Jackson at 740-319-1157.