News Column

Georgia plays itself and other places on-screen

July 27, 2013


July 27--Sometimes Georgia plays itself on the big screen. In "Trouble With the Curve," for example, Clint Eastwood plays an Atlanta Braves scout and the movie, also starring Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake, filmed scenes at Turner Field.

"What To Expect When You're Expecting" showcased Atlanta to glorious effect, filming a number of scenes at recognizable locations including Piedmont Park. (It did turn Fulton County Airport at Charlie Brown Field into an airport in Ethiopia, though.)

The Billy Crystal-Bette Midler comedy "Parental Guidance" was both set and filmed here, although in a bit of creative license, the movie had its characters take MARTA from a north Fulton subdivision to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

Entertainment mogul Tyler Perry films a slew of movie and television projects at his studios here, but not all of his projects are set here. "For Colored Girls" was set in New York but filmed mostly here, with key scenes shot at the Cobb Centre and Joan Glancy Memorial Hospital in Duluth, which is part of Gwinnett Medical Center. "Temptation" was set in Washington although moviegoers could recognize local spots including the Georgian Terrace, and much of the action takes place in a 12,000-square-foot loft in Castleberry Hill.

"They transformed that place into such an unbelievably believable party scene," said local real estate agent Carter Phillips, who facilitated the filming deal. "Smoke, fog machines. The alarm kept going off. It was pretty intense."

Part of why directors love filming here, other than the state's tax credits, is that it's easy to make Georgia look like someplace else. "Anchorman 2" is set in San Diego and New York City but filmed almost entirely in Georgia, mostly Atlanta but also St. Simons Island. A newly released trailer shows Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and friends in early 1980s Manhattan; the scene was filmed near Woodruff Park.

"I am sure I'll be back sooner rather than later," director Adam McKay said. "We had an amazing time."

"The Internship," in which Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn play mid-career guys who land gigs at Google, filmed at Atlanta sites including the Georgia Tech campus. "Identity Thief," in which Jason Bateman's character tracks down Melissa McCarthy's after she runs up bills using his name, was set in Denver, St. Louis and Florida but filmed mostly in Atlanta.

"Last Vegas," a buddy comedy starring Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline and Robert De Niro, shot a few scenes in Las Vegas, where the movie takes place, then headed south to complete filming in Atlanta. Most of the work filmed here was interior -- the trailer showing the four guys partying in their swank Vegas suite was shot at a studio Grant Park -- but it also filmed a flashback scene in the Edgewood area.

"The community in Atlanta is so much more receptive to filming than the community in L.A.," director Jon Turteltaub said, referring to setting up the exterior shots. "In L.A. there's a lot of 'stop bothering us.' You get told 'yes' a lot more here."

Other movies filming here but set elsewhere include "Lawless," set in a Prohibition-era moonshining town in Virginia;

And "The Hunger Games" sequel "Catching Fire" is set amid post-apocalyptic splendor and poverty; Atlanta sites fit both bills.

"The Watsons Go to Birmingham," a Hallmark Channel movie due for a September release, takes place in Michigan and Alabama but filmed throughout metro Atlanta. Nikki Silver, one of the producers, said metro Atlanta had everything from blue collar neighborhoods to historic town squares.

"One of the things we loved about filming down here was all the different looks," she said.


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