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Filming on Pharrell Williams coming-of-age musical to begin in Virginia this summer

Chris Graham
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A feature film set in the Virginia Beach childhood of music superstar Pharrell Williams will begin filming in Virginia this summer.

The untitled Universal Pictures project will star Kelvin Harrison Jr. (“Chevalier,” “Waves”) and 2024 Academy Award winner Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Holdovers”), and will be directed by Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “The Science of Sleep”).

Williams, himself a two-time Academy Award nominee, was born in Virginia Beach in 1973, and the upcoming film, a musical, is set in 1977, in a neighborhood inspired by the Atlantis Apartments, in which Williams grew up.

Williams first came to fame in the 1990s as half of the hip-hop duo The Neptunes and the alternative band N.E.R.D., and he was won 13 Grammy Awards as a musician and producer.

“This high-profile project will place a global spotlight on Virginia as both an incomparable place to visit and as a preferred destination for investment from this growing industry,” Gov. Glenn Youngkin said in a statement released by his office on Friday announcing the project.

“The project will provide high-wage jobs, help retain our trained production workforce, and deliver an immediate economic impact shared across a variety of sectors, from construction to hospitality. We warmly welcome Pharrell and the team behind this groundbreaking project to Virginia,” Youngkin said.

“Pharrell has been one of Virginia Beach’s biggest supporters, and we are thankful for the time and resources he has poured into our city,” Virginia Beach Convention & Bureau Director Nancy Helman said. “We share the excitement of other state leaders and look forward to seeing the success of Pharrell’s latest project.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].