As much as we've loved watching Ben and Erin Napier help locals find their dream homes in their charming hometown of Laurel, Mississipi, we're incredibly excited about their new show, Home Town Takeover. Especially because in the second episode, the couple renovated the historic Alabama home that was used in the Tim Burton film Big Fish. Since the old house was used as a movie set, there was a lot of work required to fully update the "Big Fish House" and turn it into a home.
If you recall Burton's quirky film, it starred Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Steve Buscemi, Billy Redden, Helena Bonham Carter, and Matthew McGrory as Karl the Giant in the story of Edward Bloom trying to interpret his dying father's life stories. The fictional town of Spectre was actually located on Jackson Lake Island between the small towns of Montgomery and Millbrook. While you can still see the set of Spectre (including Jenny's house), other notable filming locations around the state include various locations along the Alabama River as well as brief filming in Tallassee at Huntingdon College.
The beautiful historic "Big Fish House" can be found in Wetumpka, and is one of the most recognizable pieces of real estate in town due to its appearance in the 2003 film.
Wade and Shellie Whitfield purchased the home a few years ago and had big plans. But unfortunately, it ended up being an expensive project since the house was lacking so many things from its days operating as a film set. Not to mention it dates back to 1874 so a lot of updates were required.
"We had these high hopes that we were going to be able to do great things and save the 'Big Fish' House," explains Shellie. "It's taking way more time and way more money than we have."
But Erin and Ben Napier were more than happy to take on the undertaking...in part because of Erin's love for the film.
Speaking with House Beautiful, Erin described the experience as a "once-in-a-lifetime project."
"Big Fish is my all-time favorite movie," she explained. "I've seen it a million times and I can recite the script."
As exciting as the project was, it was definitely not easy. But it was still a special experience to update a space she was so familiar with after watching the movie so many times.
"It was not up to code," Erin told House Beautiful, noting that it wasn't even livable before the Whitfields moved in. But there were "so many strange things we uncovered that you would only find because it was a movie set and that was so fun," she added.
Be sure to check out the episode on Amazon to see the magical updates made to the house and how Erin honors the history of the home.