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How Georgia Hopes to Lead Hollywood’s Return to Production


As the film and TV industry attempts to restart after a COVID-19 shutdown, some states like Georgia hope to be trailblazers. Home to Tyler Perry’s sprawling film studio, Pinewood’s Atlanta outpost and other production facilities, the Peach State is establishing itself as a pioneer in the industry’s quest to get back to work.

Perry was one of the first Hollywood players to lay out his plans to restart production. The producer — who said he’d fly actors on two of his TV shows, Sistas and The Oval, to Atlanta on his private jet and keep cast and crew quarantined on his 330-acre studio campus throughout the duration of filming in July — detailed on-set safety protocols May 20 in a 30-page document titled “Camp Quarantine.” But he’s far from the only producer who’s been plotting a return to filming in the state.

While studios are wary of naming specific projects and target shoot dates due to the volatile nature of the pandemic (after all, Georgia set a new single-day record on July 1 with 3,000 new COVID cases in 24 hours), sources say that some of the major projects expected to start or restart production in the state in the coming months include Universal’s feature adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen, MGM’s Sylvester Stallone action pic Samaritan and a pair of Disney+ series: Loki and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. In addition, at least two major Netflix projects plan to return to Georgia: comedy thriller Red Notice, starring Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot, and Stranger Things. Sources say the cast of the latter was told season four production would tentatively start back up again on Sept. 17.

“Georgians want to get back to work and show that we can not only beat this virus but be leaders in this industry to hopefully encourage America to get back to work,” says John Rooker, founder and owner of Atlanta Metro Studios (AMS), where HBO’s Watchmen filmed.

Georgia, which has lured Hollywood productions in recent years with its uncapped film incentives program, says it plans to hire an estimated 40,000 production workers across roughly 75 upcoming productions. Together, those projects are expected to invest $2 billion into the state’s economy over the next 18 months. The industry first got the green light to get production back up and running when Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp officially released the state’s protocols for film and TV production on May 22, two weeks before California released its filming guidelines. See more at THR.


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