Visit nearby attractions that can be seen on the silver screen
ATLANTA, July 23, 2009 – Embark on a Georgia movie road trip to see the town squares, restaurants, hotels and park benches that gave your favorite films a backdrop on the big screen.
Start off with a north Georgia adventure, retracing the route down the Chattooga River that the young Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty and Jon Voight took in the classic thriller,Deliverance (1972). Rafting outfitter Southeastern Expeditions Whitewater Adventure in Clayton can help you access the same heart-pounding rapids seen in the movie.
For calmer movie memories, head to Atlanta to see a number of sites that made the silver screen. The Hebrew Benevolent Congregation Temple in Atlanta and Agnes Scott College in Decatur both make appearances in the award-winning film, Driving Miss Daisy (1989), that stars Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman and Dan Aykroyd. TheAtlanta University Center, which includes the campuses of Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College and Spelman College, was featured in School Daze (1989), We are Marshall (2006) and Drumline (2002). The Westminster Schools’ football stadium was recently filmed for scenes in The Blind Side (2009), a real-life rags-to-riches story that stars Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw. Outside of Atlanta, the 825-foot-high granite mountain at Stone Mountain Park was featured in Stomp the Yard (2007). The Spanish Colonial-style exhibition buildings at the Lakewood Fairgrounds, which were built in 1916 for the Southeastern Fair, an agricultural and entertainment bazaar, were featured in the opening and closing scenes of another Burt Reynolds classic, Smokey and the Bandit (1977). And the suburban Atlanta community of Tributary, near Sweetwater Creek State Park, was the backdrop for an Ashton Kutcher-Katherine Heigl action comedy, Five Killers (2010), that is set to hit theaters next summer.
Conyers and Covington, located east of Atlanta, have also played important roles in movies as well as hit television series. The Civil War reenactment scene in Sweet Home Alabama was shot at Conyers’ Georgia International Horse Park, which hosts equestrian events throughout the year, and several scenes from the 1970s series, The Dukes of Hazzard, were also shot in the town. The Dukes of Hazzard also featured the historical Newton County Courthouse in nearby Covington, is one of only five courthouses in Georgia built in a French-style architecture that was popular in the late 1800s. The Dukes of Hazzard also features Emory University’s Oxford College inOxford, which is seen in the opening credits when the show’s famous orange Dodge Charger, the General Lee, jumps in mid-air. Also filmed in the area were My Cousin Vinny (1991), Cannonball Run (1980), Flash (1997), Remember the Titans (2000), The Fighting Temptations (2003) and the popular primetime drama series, In the Heat of the Night (1988-1995).
Stop by the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce to pick up a detailed map that highlights former movie sites for self-guided tours. In Covington, visitors should see The Town House Café used in Tyler Perry’s The Family that Preys (2008) and the restaurants Amici’s Italian Café, R.L.’s Off the Square and Scoops, which were popular with the cast and crew of the recently filmed horror remake Halloween II (2009). Also, be on the lookout for crews filming The Vampire Diaries, a new teen television series on the CW Network currently shooting there. The Hard Labor Creek State Park in nearby Rutledge was used for scenes in suspense movies as Friday the 13th: Jason Lives (1986) and Drew Barrymore’s Poison Ivy (1992). A soon-to-release 1930s-era thriller with Robert Duvall and Sissy Spacek, Get Low (2009), was filmed nearby in Crawfordville, as were scenes from Sweet Home Alabama. In fact, the restaurant, Heavy’s BBQ in Crawfordville was the backdrop for the bar scene in the movie. The Taliaferro County Historical Society, also located in Crawfordville, is another fun stop for movie-lovers, because a portion of its exhibit chronicles the town’s filmmaking history.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the classic 1990s comedy My Cousin Vinny (1991) in Monticello, the county seat of Jasper County, about 60 miles southwest of Crawfordville. The Jasper County Courthouse was used in the film, and with two to three months advance notice, the Monticello-Jasper County Chamber of Commercecan organize skits from the movie’s courthouse scenes for groups of 15-20 people. Also, get a taste of the film at Dave’s Bar-B-Que & Soul Food, where Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei filmed a memorable argument scene for the movie. Not far from Monticello, the famed drama Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), which stars Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, Mary-Louise Parker and Mary Stuart Masterson, was filmed in Juliette. Visitors can have lunch at the same Whistle Stop Café used in the movie or visit several of the small shops that opened downtown since the movie was filmed.
A walking tour of Savannah is another great way to learn more about your favorite movies. Since 1915, more than 85 films have been shot in the city, including Glory (1989),Forces of Nature (1999), Forrest Gump (1994), Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) and The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000). Popular Southern cook Paula Deen’s Food Network television shows are also shot in Savannah, which is home to her restaurant The Lady and Sons. Savannah Movie Tours will give you a tour of popular food and film sites in the city, including the spot where Tom Hanks sat on a park bench in Forrest Gump. The actual bench is now housed in the Savannah History Museum. Nearby Tybee Island will be a hot spot for fans of teen pop star and actress Miley Cyrus, who is filming the movie The Last Song (2010) there. Ms. Cyrus recently dined at Sting Ray’s Seafood Restaurant, where she gave an impromptu two-song performance. Also, not far from the coast, is Valdosta’s Wild Adventures amusement park, where scenes for a Bill Murray-Woody Harrelson horror comedy, Zombieland (2009), were recently filmed.
Finally, head to Warm Springs to see Roosevelt’s Little White House Historic Site, where President Franklin D. Roosevelt came in 1924 hoping to find a cure for his polio affliction by swimming in the area’s naturally warm waters. In 1932, President Roosevelt built the only home he ever owned there, the Little White House, now open to visitors. Also on site is a museum that houses the 1938 Ford convertible that President Roosevelt drove using hand controls and the “Unfinished Portrait,” a watercolor portrait of the president never finished, because he died from a stroke before it was completed. The house and the nearby pools where President Roosevelt swam were both featured in the HBO movie Warm Springs (2005), which recounts his story.
Another great way to experience Georgia’s film culture is to attend one of the many film festivals held across the state every year. Some of those include the Atlanta Film Festival 365, the Atlanta Underground Film Festival, the Macon Georgia Film & Video Festival, Robert Osborne’s Classic Film Festival in Athens, the Rome International Film Festival and the Savannah Film Festival.
From romantic comedies to gripping thrillers, Georgia has been a backdrop for all. Relive your favorite silver screen moment in the Georgia town where it really happened, or plan a trip to see one of the many film festivals in the state. Georgia’s film industry is booming these days, so it’s entirely possible you’ll cross paths with movie sets and stars as you explore the state’s choice film location. For more information about the film in Georgia, visit www.georgia.org. To learn more about Georgia film destinations, visitwww.exploregeorgia.org.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state’s sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a location for film, video and music projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development.