Senoia Welcomed Filmmakers

Films, TV Has People Flocking to Senoia
SENOIA, Ga (MyFOX ATLANTA) – Jack Bauer and the FOX hit TV show “24” were back for season 8 Sunday night. The man behind the show’s special effects demonstrated why Hollywood and soon tens of thousands of people will be flocking to a small Georgia town.
Big time Hollywood special effects are done on the set of “24” out in Hollywood. The man behind the show’s explosions and effects spends his days in the little town of Senoia in Coweta County. That’s the home of Paul Lombardi’s Riverwood Studios.
Riverwood has been building real, turn of the century style architecture buildings as a way of restoring Senoia, while providing backdrops to Hollywood films and television shows.
“Now we have “Drop Dead Diva” coming here, shooting Senoia as Los Angeles which is kind of an interesting turnaround. So here we are standing here in Senoia, but in the movie industry we could be in Los Angeles, any place. Sure, that’s the magic of Hollywood right?” said Lombardi.
Lombardi buildings are filled with shops and restaurants. A new restaurant called Founders is set to open next month. Riverwood Studios built the 1920’s style bar for the owner in hopes of using it some day in a movie.
“If you think about [it], they are building sets all the time. I have always considered restaurants a theater anyway,” said Todd Baggarly of Founders restaurant.
“We had a scenic artist from L.A. come out here and paint this thing so it’s an aged sign that looks like its been here for 50 years. Just like a movie set. It is a movie set, it’s all a movie set. It looks like 1910 and guess what it isn’t,” said Lombardi.
Lombardi said it’s the same with this season of “24”. On the show, Hollywood is made to look like somewhere else.
“We are up to our necks in “24.” This year is kind of cool. It’s shot in Hollywood, [but] made to look like New York, so there is a lot of CGI work and backdrops, that sort of thing,” said Lombardi.
Senoia is about to make national headlines with New York style brownstones. Riverwood Studios is building them. The brownstones are real homes.
“Southern Living” magazine has picked one as its idea house for 2010. The magazine is the country’s 7th largest magazine, with a readership of 16 million. The issue has the potential to drive more than 40,000 people to tour the idea house in Senoia this year. The edition will hit newsstands in August.
The idea house opens for public tours in June and will the tours will run through December. The tours are expected to bring a big economic boost to the small town.
The TV series “Drop Dead Divas” starts shooting it’s second season in the next few months.