Franklin Co. Locals React to Movie About Moonshine Industry

Franklin Co., VA - Wednesday was opening day for the new prohibition-era action film, "Lawless". The movie is based on the novel "The Wettest County in the World," which chronicles the bootlegging exploits of the Bondurant brothers from Franklin County.

Now the main stream world will know what locals have known for years: Franklin County is the Moonshine Capital of the World.

Tommy Thomas runs Ippy's restaurant in Rocky Mount where he has decorated his bar with relics and pictures of the moonshine industry. He says people are excited to see just how their heritage will be portrayed.

"I think it's downplayed a little bit more than what really happened. This is how people made their living for years and still do, thank goodness," he said.

Curt Bondurant distantly related to the Bondurant boys depicted in the film. He had to see the movie as soon as it came out to take care of his curiosity.

"It'll be interesting to see how, you know what it actually shows," said Bondurant.

Thomas Althoff is the general manager at Westlake Cinema where the movie opened Wednesday afternoon. He says the interest has been strong.

"There is a lot of interest in seeing the history of the county portrayed in the big screen. Especially done through a Hollywood lens," he said.

Considering the film was shot in northern Georgia, how does Althoff think they did?

"I thought it definitely represents southwest Virginia very well," said Althoff.

There is at least one discrepancy: While early in the movie a graphic locator shows the setting to be in Franklin County, throughout the movie, the setting is referred to as "Franklin," which is a city in eastern Virginia near Chesapeake.