‘Need for Speed’ filming to start Wednesday in Macon

hgoodridge@macon.comApril 23, 2013 

Magnolia Street in Macon is typically quiet. Sandwiched between Temple Beth Israel and the post office, residents on this historic city street lined with vintage Southern homes enjoy a peaceful life.

That’s all about to change.

“Need for Speed,” a DreamWorks Studios film, is scheduled to shoot scenes on the street all day Thursday. Filming for the movie begins Wednesday in other parts of the city, including the area around Hardeman Avenue.

“I think it’s cool,” said Boni Bush, who recently bought a house at 1007 Magnolia St. “Not everybody gets to witness a movie in the making.”

The movie, directed by Scott Waugh, who also directed “Act of Valor” in 2012, is an adaptation of the popular video game series “Need for Speed.”

Cast members include Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”), Dominic Cooper (“Captain America”), Imogen Poots (“Fright Night”) and Michael Keaton (“Batman”).

Bush hasn’t yet moved into her home because she’s doing interior renovations. She shifted her focus to the yard Tuesday morning to get the property ready for its Hollywood close-up.

“I don’t want anyone to say, ‘Yuck. What a mess!’” she joked.

Residents can’t park on Magnolia and many other downtown-area streets for a few days, and life will be somewhat altered during the production. Angel Collins, who lives at 1039 Magnolia St., said that’s OK with her.

“It’s a necessary inconvenience,” said Collins, a freelance writer. “If we want Macon to be what we want it to be ... we have to accept this and be happy and excited about it.”

Members of the production crew installed four temporary speed bumps on the street Tuesday. As part of the plot, movie characters are racing to get to northern California. Along the way, they get detoured and end up on a side street (Magnolia Street), a location manager wrote in a letter to residents living on the street.

When the characters get to the side street, they find out it has speed bumps so they can’t drive very fast for fear of destroying their race car. However, they can’t go slow because they have already lost too much time after getting lost. “They hit these bumps pretty hard and cause further tension within the story, adding to the ongoing craziness of racing across the country,” the letter states.

Terrell Sandefur, president of the Macon Film Festival and a Macon Film Commission member, said filming will be taking place throughout downtown.

Sandefur spent most of Monday driving Aaron Paul’s assistant around town, showing her the locations where cast and crew can go for services.

“I drove her to every restaurant downtown,” he said. “If you have a headache, here’s where you go to get aspirin.

“Very basic stuff.”

An estimated 200 cast and crew members are in Macon as part of the production.

“It might cause street closures, but it brings people downtown,” Sandefur said.

It’s not just the cast and crew being drawn to downtown. Other Middle Georgians who haven’t been downtown for years will come to see a major Hollywood production in progress and to see movie stars, he said.

That was the case during the filming of the Jackie Robinson biopic “42,” Sandefur said.

After the Los Angeles premiere of that movie, Sandefur said, the film commission has been fielding calls from major studios interested in filming here.

“All the major studios have scouted Macon for other projects here,” he said.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Harold Goodridge, call 744-4382.

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