Jimmy Pierson is ready for his close-up.
More accurately, he’s ready for the close-up of his bar, Northside Cheers, which will be featured in the movie “Trouble With The Curve,” which premieres Sept. 21.
But ever since actor Clint Eastwood set foot in his bar off Northside Drive to film his scenes last March, Pierson has been waiting for the movie to come out.
“I’m absolutely elated,” he said. “I can’t wait.”
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“Trouble With The Curve” stars Eastwood as an aging Atlanta Braves scout hoping to sign one more player and re-connect with his estranged daughter, portrayed by actress Amy Adams. The cast includes Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Robert Patrick and other recognizable actors.
Pierson, whose bar now contains several bits of memorabilia related to Eastwood and the movie, isn’t the only one waiting to see Macon immortalized in celluloid once more. The city has been featured in movies such as “The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars” and “Wise Blood” in the 1970s and early 1980s before disappearing off the cinema map.
But the city has shown a resurgence in the filmmaking world the recent past, with Middle Georgia serving as a key location for the horror movie, “The Crazies,” as well as some smaller, independent films.
Macon Mayor Robert Reichert said it’s a point of pride to see the city serve as one of the locales for a major motion picture starring one of the most prominent actors in the world.
“I’m enormously proud of the fact that part of the movie was filmed here,” Reichert said, noting that another baseball movie, “42,” also filmed here this year, thanks in large part to having Luther Williams Field here. “I certainly think we’re on the map of filmmakers. (Macon Film Commission Chairman) Elliot Dunwody and his film commission are constantly working to bring more movies here.”
Dunwody said if Macon continues to maintain a positive reputation among the film community, more productions will flock here.
“It’s just a culmination of a lot of hard work we put in to get the films here,” he said. “With this movie and ‘42’ (scheduled for an April release), it shows the city is very film-friendly. I must admit, watching the films being made and then you see the trailers come up, it’s like, ‘Wow!’ ”
The Macon-Bibb County Convention & Visitors Bureau is sponsoring a contest in which people can take Instagram pictures of Luther Williams Field and some of the businesses, such as Nu-Way Weiners, that were advertised on the outfield wall in one of the scenes at the stadium. They can post the pictures on the “Macon, Ga.: Song & Soul of the South” Facebook page to win prizes.
Pierson said he plans to offer discounts to customers who bring their “Trouble With The Curve” movie stubs to his bar during the first week the movie is open. Coincidentally, the bar in the movie is called “Jimmy’s.”
Wes Clark, general manager of the AmStar 16 Cinema, said though moviegoers haven’t been talking too much about the movie so far, he’s heard a lot of buzz around town.
“I’ve noticed folks in the community talking about it,” Clark said.
Tickets for the movie go on sale Tuesday morning.
“I’m certainly excited to see it,” he said. “The two previews for it looked fantastic. I think it will carry over into different age groups. It will have a wide range of appeal.”
Clark said he isn’t aware of any large groups going to see the movie, but that could change as it gets closer to the premiere.
Outside the theater, some movie patrons said they’re looking forward to seeing the movie.
“I wish I was in it,” said Kimbrough Donner. “I definitely want to see it. ... I’d go see it even if it wasn’t filmed here.”
“I love the girl in the movie, Amy Adams,” said Donner’s friend Leslie Hurdle. “I just love her. I loved her in ‘Enchanted.’ I love her movies.”
Nicholas McMahon said he’s heard a lot of people want to see the movie.
“It was cool to see Clint Eastwood here,” he said. “I went to see ‘The Crazies’ just because it was shot here.”
Clark said he thinks the movie will do well in Macon, with some people perhaps watching it more than once if they recognize an extras they know.
Pierson said he had to sign a release from Warner Bros., saying he wouldn’t discuss any aspect of what was shot in the bar until after the movie hits theaters.
“(Warner Bros. representatives) let us know that (the scenes) are definitely in the movie,” he said.
Pierson said Eastwood had lunch at the bar while waiting to shoot.
“He had a burger and battered fries,” Pierson said. “He said, ‘Damn, this is good.’ ”
Reichert said there’s absolutely no downside for the city when “Trouble With The Curve” comes out.
“When you have movies shot here, there’s not only the economic impact, but it also serves as a wonderful advertisement for the beauty of our community,” he said.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.