Group wants to convert Astrodome into sound stage, movie studio


by By Kevin Peters / 11 News

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 19 at 6:43 PM

HOUSTON -- As county officials and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo haggle over how best to make use of the Houston Astrodome, a new group has emerged with a novel idea. They want to turn the 8th Wonder of the World into a world-class movie studio.

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"It's absolutely the least amount of change to this historical structure that you could possibly do and give it a new lease on life," said film and TV veteran Cynthia Neely. "Texas really needs a large-scale production facility, and I mean large, to be competitive."

The dome already hosted some of the scenes from the movie " Friday Night Lights" four years ago and has been featured in other cinema productions like "Bad News Bears in Breaking Training" and " Murder at the World Series."

The idea to convert the Astrodome is similar to one in Austin where the city helped turn the old Mueller Airport hangers into a cutting edge studio. Filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez filmed portions of "Grindhouse" at the Austin studio.

The movie studio idea isn't the only idea for the Harris County Domed Stadium. One group has already .

An idea that the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo - which controls the lease of much of the Reliant Park property - .

Ultimately, county commissioners will decide the Astrodome's fate.

"I won't and I don't think the county commissioners would ever allow to happen is for something to be pit in there that fails and then become a proud owner of a failed entity," said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

Whatever is decided will likely be a grand vision, much like the Astrodome itself.