The only time traffic usually back ups in historic Hiram is when the train runs through town. But a few months ago the downtown was a bustling place full of movie stars and film crews. Next October, the remake of Footloose will premiere with a few familiar landmarks.
For three days at the end of September, hundreds of extras and the movie's cast, including Dennis Quaid as the Rev. Shaw Moore and newcomer Kenny Warmold as Ren McCormack, crowded into Hiram to shoot several scenes of the remake of the 1984 Kevin Bacon film.
"Dennis Quaid sat in my chair," said Sunshine Shirah, the office manager at the Autohouse, a used-car dealership in Hiram.
As in the original, city boy Ren moves to a small Southern town and rebels against a law making dancing and rock music illegal.
Footloose filmed around the Atlanta area for three months in the fall. Kennesaw, Covington, Franklin and Senoia are just a few of the other locations used.
It's not the first movie to shoot in Paulding County, nor probably the last. Since Gov. Sonny Perdue signed the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act in 2008, tax breaks have helped lure many film productions to the state. The law offers a tax credit of 20 percent, based on a minimum investment of $500,000 on a qualified production. Certain conditions can produce an additional 10 percent tax break.
Footloose was going to be filmed in Tennessee, home of the fictitious town of Beaumont, but Georgia's incentives package reportedly won over the movie executives.
The economic value to the area is multifaceted, said Bill Marinella, the extra casting director for Footloose. Not only did the movie pay hundreds of extras, but it also rented sites were rented and paid for all those people to east and sleep in the area.
Plus, there was the benefit of getting to see how Hollywood operates. The locals are still a tad giddy.
Shirah said the film crews used the inside of the Autohouse's office one day and the lot on another. They came in and painted the office, then painted it back, moved cars around and put them all back.
"The hustle and bustle was great," Shirah said.
Several sites in town were used in the film, including the car lot, the Hiram Coffee House and Main Street.
Teresa Atsalis, owner of the Olive Tree restaurant downtown, said it was fun to see how a major movie is made. She said everybody was as down-to-earth as possible.
"They were as friendly at 5 a.m. as they were at midnight," Atsalis said.
She remembers even the smallest of details about the brush with fame, even Quaid's little puglike dog.
"He had on this big ol' jeweled collar," she said.