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Mayor presents city keys to 'Saving Grace' creator, actress



Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett presented "Saving Grace" star Holly Hunter and Oklahoma City native and series creator Nancy Miller with keys to the city today.


The Turner Network Television series -- based around Hunter's Oklahoma City Police Detective Grace Hanadarko character "? debuted in July and became the summer's highest rated debuting television series. Nine episodes have aired and Miller said four more will air in December.


Cornett said he first met with Miller and Hunter more than a year ago when the series was in its planning stages. Meeting with the "Saving Grace" contingent that has traveled to Oklahoma City including the writing staff and cast members, Cornett said he is welcoming them with open arms.


Miller said there is hope to shoot more of the series in Oklahoma City, but because the first season has been shot within budget in Los Angeles (the pilot was the only episode shot in Canada, Miller said) it will be hard to shoot additional footage in Oklahoma without some "help with the budget."


Cornett commented that although Oklahoma City is very interested in having more of the series filming on location, city funds would not be used because there are state funds available through the Oklahoma Film and Music Office for incentives.


However, after receiving the Skirvin Hotel ceremony, Miller and the cast and crew would be meeting with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber members perhaps securing additional funding.


Hunter expressed hopes that Oklahoma City's backdrop could become a lead character in the second season which begins shooting in January.


Miller said there are plans to shoot footage in January and with six to eight scripts that will already be finished, there are high hopes to incorporate more of Oklahoma City into the episodes.


"We hope to shoot the series here in part to brand Oklahoma City," Hunter said. "There are stories to tell about this town."


During their stay in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Film and Music Office's Director Jill Simpson said the contingent will visit Christ the King elementary school, Bishop McGuiness High School (both of which Miller said Hunter's character attended), the Regatta, Pops in Arcadia, the Oklahoma Homecoming football game and the State Capitol as well as dining at Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse, Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill, Cattlemen's and Johnnie's Charcoal Broiler.


Hunter has Oklahoma ties as well. She said her mother was born in Shawnee and her father was born in Oklahoma City to a family who participated in the land run. -Stefanie Brickman


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