Lucky Macon workers get peek of ‘Need for Speed’ shoot

hgoodridge@macon.comApril 24, 2013 

A portion of Macon became New York on Wednesday.

DreamWorks Studios started filming the movie “Need for Speed” at Fountain Car Wash on Hardeman Avenue. Traffic was restricted on a portion of that road and Forsyth Street during the day as stunt drivers filmed race scenes.

A member of the production crew said the scene being filmed is set in New York.

Those lucky enough to work in the area got a sneak peek at some of the action.

“This is pretty cool,” said Heather Wyche, who works at a doctor’s office across the street from the car wash and watched some of the morning filming. “This would probably make me see (the movie) so I can say I was there.”

April Blackmon, who works at a nearby law office, said she kept spying a gray Mustang drive by and wanted to see it. On several takes, the car burned rubber as it exited off Interstate 75 onto Hardeman.

“Hopefully I’ll get to see a little bit. It’s too close not to look,” Blackmon said as a crew member told spectators to back up because the car was about to come tearing down the road.

Wyche used her cellphone to shoot pictures of the car as it flew down Forsyth Street.

“We won’t get any work done in here today because we keep looking out (the window) every five minutes,” she said.

Bystander Charity Smith said the filming of “Need for Speed” and two other movies in the past year says a lot about Macon.

“I think it’s awesome,” she said. “It’s interesting what it’s bringing to Macon and how big Macon is getting.”

Terrell Sandefur, president of the Macon Film Festival and a member of the Macon Film Commission, spent about 40 minutes on the set Wednesday morning.

“It’s very exciting to see how many people work on the movie, ... to see the race come flying down the street at a high rate of speed into the car wash,” he said.

Crews are scheduled to film Thursday on Magnolia Street as well as on the interstate, from the I-75 South/I-16 split to the Mercer University Drive exit, starting about mid-morning. Police will be on the scene helping move traffic through with a kind of rolling road block, mayoral spokesman Chris Floore said. Motorists should consider taking alternate routes in and out of downtown Macon at that time.

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

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

Fountain Car Wash no stranger to movies

Chuck Duggan, who owns the business, was in a familiar place Wednesday. The car wash was closed as about 100 cast and crew members filmed the movie in and around the business.

Portions of the 2010 horror film the “The Crazies” also were filmed there.

“We’re a great place to film a movie,” Duggan said. “I talked to them about why they like our site.”

Duggan said producers told him they were looking for a place off the interstate because they were filming a high speed chase.

“They saw Fountain Car Wash and they said ‘we need to do this,’” Duggan said. “They liked that we had one-way streets on each side so they can do the drifting.”

Duggan said he also thinks they selected Fountain because it was not a first-time movie set.

Duggan was on the set of the movie throughout the day.

“They are an impressive group of people,” he said about the “Need for Speed” cast and crew. “The professionalism, attention to detail and everyone has a job to do.”

To contact writer Harold Goodridge, call 744-4382.

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