Producers of X-Men: First Class - starring Jones, of Mad Men fame - are considering locations in Savannah, Tybee Island and Thunderbolt as they scout areas for the next installment of the action-film series.
Tybee's City Council got the ball rolling Thursday night by granting producers' request to film in the island's North Beach area. The permit extends from Sept. 13 through Dec. 31.
If the Savannah area can snare X-Men, it would be the third major studio shoot here since June 2009, when filming for Cyrus' The Last Song took over Tybee Island for much of the summer.
That shoot was followed last September by The Conspirator, a Robert Redford-directed film starring Wright that's set to premier this week at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Mayor Jason Buelterman was enthusiastic Thursday night about the prospect of another Hollywood production being filmed on the island.
"If you look at the economic impact last summer, this is an even better opportunity because it's taking place during the offseason," he said.
But it's not a done deal yet.
Jay Self, the city of Savannah's director of Tourism and Film Services, said although the production company is applying for permits and making other preparations in the area, creative decisions are pending.
"We are moving forward with all needed preparations so we will be ready if they decide to use these locations," he said.
The production company and studio are happy with the level of cooperation they have received from Tybee, Thunderbolt, Chatham County, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the city of Savannah, Self said, but a number of factors must be considered for the location.
"Each location decision has creative implications," he said. "This is an action movie, so they're looking for places to do some rather extensive action sequences. These action sequences are very much tied to their environment. They're very specific, very complicated.
"It's also a period film, so the location decisions can be more complex."
City officials have been working quietly with the studio for months, Self said.
"I don't know if anybody knows how this is going to shake out, but that is the nature of projects of this size," he said. "I've been doing this long enough to know that creative decisions are out of our control, and that if this film shoots anywhere on the Georgia coast, it will be a very positive thing for this region of the state."
Filming for the latest installment of "X-Men" - the fifth based on the Marvel comic book series about mutant superheroes - began last month in London, according to wire reports.
Besides Jones, high-profile cast members include Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt and James McAvoy - another "Conspirator" star - who will play a young version of the group's ringleader, Professor X.