‘Joyful Noise’ filming comes to Peachtree City
They say it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to make a movie and most of the time that village is mobile, moving from one location to the next. Area residents got to see and be a part of this village on Monday when “Joyful Noise,” filmed a scene at the Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater.
The film moved in to the location over the weekend, putting up tents, driving in trailers, building an addition to the stage for use in the film and decorating the set. Early Monday morning the crew arrived and part of the crew was the staff of Extras Casting Atlanta who had to prepare for the arrival and provide a lot of transportation for the 1,600 extras that would be involved in the filming.
“We have around 900 paid extras and 700 promotional (non-paid) extras on set today,” said Nathan Wright of Extras Casting Atlanta. “We’re here to make sure they get processed, get on set and don’t get restless during the downtime.”
Wright found the extras, or rather the extras found Wright and Extras Casting Atlanta thanks to articles in this newspaper, calls to Praise FM and even more calls to area churches, some of whom allowed their parking lots to be used to help park and shuttle people to the set. The company also has 35,000 fans on Facebook, so when they send out a casting call it’s no surprise that people come from all over. The filming on Monday featured an extra that lives in Australia.
Since Georgia sweetened the tax incentive deal more and more Hollywood productions have come to the area. Newnan has had both “Zombieland” and “Get Low” filming there in the past few years and while “Joyful Noise” has been filming all over the state, there is also a production called “The Wettest County in the World” being filmed nearby. “Joyful Noise” stars Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah and is about two women who work together to prevent a small-town gospel choir from shutting down. It is due to be released Jan. 13, 2012.
Extras started arriving at “The Fred” at 7 a.m. and soon wound their way down to the seats. They were told what was going to occur that day and either the director or assistant director briefed them on what would be happening in each take and what they should be doing. Mostly the crowd was there to cheer, clap and sing along and their level of intensity was praised throughout the filming that morning. One of the scenes being filmed included a performance from Kirk Franklin and a choir from the movie. That performance was filmed from multiple angles so it was important for the extras to be in the same seats and do what they did with the same level of energy as the takes that came before.
For anyone on set it was an education in movie making and how many people are involved. There were production assistants swarming around, assistant directors, cameramen and women, sound operators and more. Although there was varying amounts of down time between takes for the members of the audience, those working behind the scenes were constantly moving. Wright and his crew kept the crowd’s interest during the longer pauses with raffles and giveaways.
Movie making is a big business and one that some estimate has brought in close to a billion dollars into Georgia’s economy since 2007. On Monday, the 900 paid extras were making $9 an hour for the first eight hours and then time and a half for everything after eight hours. The extras pay taxes on what they get paid and that goes back into the local economy.
“We had 900 paid extras today and 2,700 last week,” said Wright. “That’s a decent amount of money.”
“Joyful Noise” will continue filming in Georgia later this week, but Peachtree City and “The Fred” wrapped on Monday. The set started to come down soon after filming and the staff of “The Fred” now begin preparations for their first show in their summer concert series which will take place in a little over six weeks.