What do Dustin Hoffman, the tiger from The Hangover, and the musician Machine Gun Kelly all have in common? If this sounds like the setup for a six-degrees-of-Kevin Bacon story, you should know he’s actually involved too.
They answer is they’ve all filmed movies in Thomasville, Georgia. The fourth-generation Thomasvillian Allen Cheney and his production company Thomasville Pictures are responsible for bringing a bit of Hollywood to this charming southwest corner of Georgia. Movies filmed here include The Tiger Rising with Dennis Quaid and Queen Latifah, Bandit with Mel Gibson and Josh Duhamel, and One Way with Machine Gun Kelly and Kevin Bacon. Cheney and his partner, Ryan Smith, also recently wrapped Sam & Kate with Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek in the titular roles.
Today, Cheney divides his time between Los Angeles and Thomasville, embracing the best of each location, and taking immense pleasure in wending the two together. We recently sat down to discuss the process of bringing moviemaking to this part of Georgia and why fall might be the best time to visit.
How hard was it to convince Hollywood types to consider filming this far off the beaten path?
A few years ago, a couple of films that I was attached to as a producer were looking to film in Atlanta. With the costs and logistics being so constraining, I had the idea to bring the rest of the team to experience Thomasville and see if we had a shot of making it work here.
That visit could not have been better—it was like a scene from Chevy Chase’s Funny Farm when everything is almost too perfect: the weather, the accommodations, the restaurants, the people. It was incredible. That day, the whole scene just already felt like a movie.
Thomasville has long been touted as the quail-hunting capital of the world, which is a big draw this time of year. What else is going on in town?
Thomasville really does have a worldwide reputation for the caliber of quail hunting we have here. I was in England not too long ago and happened to strike up a conversation with a born-and-raised-Englishman who asked where I was from. When I told him, he replied, “I’ve been to Thomasville to shoot quail. One of the coolest experiences of my life.” See the rest here.