It might not have had the buzz about it like blockbusters of past years, but a midnight screening of the remake of a 1980s classic drew several dozen moviegoers to Hiram late Thursday.
Movies 278 was among the theaters across the country to show Footloose at the earliest possible time on its official release day. The late-night opening drew residents from Paulding and surrounding areas, many of whom had different reasons for coming.
“My teenage daughter, she wanted to come tonight,” said Laura Lee of the Paulding County portion of Douglasville. “We usually try to hit the midnight showings with the new movies that are coming out that we really wanted to see. She wanted to see it, we had the original one on DVD, I made her watch it first before we saw this one, so we can compare which one is better.”
Crews who made the film shot in several places across the metro Atlanta area, including in Hiram. Lee said she was aware of the local connection.
“We know where the auto store is that was filmed in downtown Hiram, and we have some friends that part of their property was used for the filming and everything. She put a posting on Facebook tonight saying, ‘I hope you can see my driveway!’ So that was one reason why, because it was filmed here, but too because it’s a classic movie that I’d like to see, if they did a good job remaking it,” Lee said.
Helena Williams is all too familiar with the filming that took place in Hiram. The Hiram councilwoman and owner of the Hiram Coffee House saw filmmakers take over her restaurant after a crewmember on the lookout for filming locations came in to eat. Once she got a look inside, that crewmember called her producer to have him look at it.
“They just filmed one scene in there. They took over the coffee house for one week, remodeled it and it was called the ‘Bomont Café,’ Williams said, adding that the filming took place in September of last year. Dennis Quaid, who plays Rev. Shaw Moore in the movie, was in the scene filmed there.
Williams attended the local premiere with her sister in the hopes of seeing the shop on the big screen.
“You don’t know if it’ll be cut, edited out,” Williams said. “They said that because he was the scene, there was a 90-percent chance it won’t be cut. But if it is, it’ll be in the [DVD] extras.
“I am ecstatic about it,” she added. “It was an awesome experience, and it was great to get to meet Dennis Quaid and have him sit in our chairs, drink out of our cups. You don’t see that every day.”
But seeing movie stars shooting scenes in the area is something Williams said she wouldn’t mind seeing more of.
“I think it’s an awesome thing to pursue. I think it’s great for the businesses, and downtown Hiram is totally for it,” she said. “And it’s great for the businesses—it brings a lot of people, and it helps provide a lot of extra jobs for people because you have to increase your employee base and things like that.”
Also attending the premiere was Sharon Rakestraw-Morgan, a Rockmart resident who was born in Paulding. She said she was looking forward to spotting area locations used in the film.
“I’ll probably be looking for it, but I’m looking forward to enjoying the movie, too,” she said. “I grew up in the ‘Footloose’ era. I love the movie.”
When asked if she thought the 1980s film needed to be remade, Rakestraw-Morgan said she wasn’t yet sure. “I’ll tell you when it’s over with,” she said.
Jory Lyons of Austell also had a wait-and-see attitude about the remake minutes before the film’s start.
“I’m hoping it’s just as good. We’ll find out in just a little bit,” he said. “[My friends and I] were up here on Tuesday, we come and see a different movie every Tuesday, and we saw the posters, so we were like, ‘Let’s just go see it.’”
Lyons said he too was aware of the metro Atlanta connection to the production of the film.
“I like when movies are filmed in areas that we can see,” he said. “It brings it home a little bit.”
Will you make it a movie night?
If you’re on the fence about it, our “Dinner and a Movie” feature this week includes film critic Brett Martin’s take on the flick.
More big-screen action for Paulding, area communities on the way
Paulding’s brush with Hollywood hasn’t stopped with Footloose. Earlier this year, downtown Dallas saw parts of its Main Street closed as filmmakers worked on Joyful Noise, currently set for a Jan. 13 theatrical release (See the trailer here.) Locals also got into the action as they sought to become extras in the film when crews set up shop at the Dallas Theater.
More film opportunities could be on the way for Paulding, and the county is poised to greet them. After putting in the effort to do so, the Paulding Chamber of Commerce secured for the county the Camera Ready designation from the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office. The aim of the designation process is to offer film and television production companies easier, faster and better access to local resources and information. A Camera Ready Community is required to designate a liaison who can assist production companies on a local level.
And while filmmakers will be able to flock to Paulding due to the Camera Ready designation, those involved in production could soon be working here as well. Local leaders this summer were on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony of Atlanta Film Studios Paulding County in Hiram, slated to open late this year.
Nearby Powder Springs is also getting filmmakers’ attention, as Neighborhood Watch, starring Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn, is being shot in three subdivisions around the city.