Helen Mirren's moviemaker husband Taylor Hackford has had a huge impact on the film fortunes of New Orleans, Louisiana, in recent years - he advised city officials on how to attract movie projects to the area.

The director has adopted New Orleans as his second home and quietly teamed up with former Tv executive Brandon Tartikoff to help local businesses adapt for the Hollywood crowd.

He tells Wenn, "Brandon ran NBC and he was the brightest programming mind of his generation. His daughter got into an accident in L.A. and he resigned and moved to New Orleans to be with her. We were the only two guys from Hollywood in New Orleans and we taught some classes at the University of New Orleans and they said, 'What can we do to make this a production centre?'

"We wrote a paper of what they could do: 'Need an incentive, build a studio, tell your students that a grip and a gaffer are pretty good pay.' We did it and seven years later I got this call from the chancellor of Uno saying, 'We did all the things you said.'

"My film Ray was the first film to really use the place. The difference is when I did Ray there was about a third of a crew in New Orleans; now there's six crews. There were no actors in New Orleans and now there's actors. It's the second biggest production centre for feature films in the United States so I'm thrilled."