July 31, 2021

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Reel Valdosta: Seeking at Valdosta’s Hollywood connections | Area News

9 min read

VALDOSTA – To paraphrase an editorial headline from The Valdosta Every day Moments circa 1985: Valdosta ain’t Hollywood.

But, at the time of that editorial, Valdosta was encountering a bit of Hollywood fever. 

Many scenes from an HBO motion picture titled “As Summers Die” ended up getting filmed in Valdosta. The motion picture starred Jamie Lee Curtis, Scott Glenn and Bette Davis as properly as, in accordance to the cast record, various names that you are far more likely to discover in an previous Valdosta cell phone e book instead than on a film marquee: J.J. Jennings, Fluker Stewart, Ruth Council, Maceo Horne, and so on.

Valdosta continue to just isn’t Hollywood but it has all over again experienced the pleasure and targeted traffic delays of a motion picture output this summer season. “Bandit,” a movie starring Mel Gibson and Josh Duhamel, filmed scenes downtown and at other destinations in Valdosta as effectively as Tifton, Moultrie and Thomasville in latest weeks.

“Bandit” and “As Summers Die” are only two motion pictures with a Valdosta and South Georgia connection. Sure, a handful of a lot more films have been filmed listed here, a handful of Valdosta people have appeared in the videos, and Valdosta has been named in a film right here and there, also.

Now, we just take a seem at a small place that is not always the serious Valdosta but is part of the Reel Valdosta.

AS SUMMERS DIE

The movie is the tale of an lawyer (performed by Scott Glenn) helping a Black family’s stand versus a town’s highly effective white family members. The tale is set in 1950s Louisiana, but it was filmed in 1980s Valdosta. In the fall of 1985, a movie crew descended on Valdosta, subsequent a shake up in the project’s director, a picket danger by Teamsters and various other delays.

Various Valdosta residents auditioned as extras for the movie, which also starred Jamie Lee Curtis and a small function with Bette Davis. Scenes were shot at the Converse-Dalton Property, an Echols County retailer, the Brooks County Courthouse, Eudora Plantation and The Crescent.

For a few chilly November evenings in ’85, many nearby inhabitants waited for several hours in their roles as extras throughout taking pictures at The Crescent. There is also a tale whispered below and there that the director originally planned to shoot a adore scene in one particular of The Crescent’s historic bedrooms but place inhabitants place a quit to the notion and the scene was filmed in an additional location.

Shooting lasted for only a couple months then the motion picture appeared on Television set in 1986. It must be observed that “As Summers Die,” the movie, was based on a novel by Winston Groom, who also wrote the e-book “Forrest Gump.” 

And, of course, “Forrest Gump” has a Valdosta link, also.

SONNY SHROYER

Actor Sonny Shroyer lives in Valdosta. 

Very best acknowledged for his function as Enos in the Tv set show “The Dukes of Hazzard” as well as a starring position in the brief-lived Television set present “Enos,” Shroyer has also appeared in quite a few films, such as “Forrest Gump,” which featured him actively playing the famous football coach “Bear” Bryant. Other movies showcasing Shroyer contain “The Longest Yard” and “Gator,” amongst other folks.

GATOR

“Gator” starred Burt Reynolds as a moonshiner in this 1976 sequel to “White Lightnin’”. Portions of “Gator” were filmed in Lanier County and highlighted the late Jimmy Rainwater (credited as Jim Rainwater), prior to his times of staying Valdosta’s mayor, and Johnny B. Lastinger (credited as John B. Lastinger), as properly as Shroyer and many others. 

“Gator,” by the way, is the title of Reynolds’ moonshining hero of the movie. In this movie, Gator is recruited to topple a corrupt political manager, who transpires to be his mate. “Gator” marked Reynolds’ directorial debut. And it is thought of by quite a few film critics to be an inferior sequel to “White Lightnin’”.

Reynolds also frequented Valdosta as component of an spot film pageant.

RKDS Leisure

RKDS Enjoyment hosted the film festival that brought Reynolds to town and a subsequent festival that honored Shroyer.

Valdosta-primarily based filmmakers Roy Kirkland and Doug Sebastian have filmed quite a few movies in the area.

They have penned, done, directed, developed and produced the comedy “And There You Are,” the award-successful autobiographical documentary “A Cross Burning in Willacoochee,” the violent thriller “Crazed,” and the comedy “Grandma’s Blessings.”

Filmed in a amount of South Ga options, “Grandma’s Blessings” opened with a Valdosta premiere at Mathis Metropolis Auditorium.

RKDS has also manufactured the Internet wide variety method, “The Oh Roy Display.”

DOC HOLLIDAY

Potentially the most well known Valdosta resident to be portrayed in movie is a character who has been performed by a lot of actors even though to the most effective of our awareness, Valdosta has hardly ever been stated in any of the films about him.

The character is the famed dentist-turned-gunslinger John “Doc” Holliday.

Holliday spent element of his childhood in Valdosta before touring west to meet Wyatt Earp and develop into immortalized in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral as very well as in many motion pictures.

The famed Valdostan has been portrayed by Val Kilmer in “Tombstone,” Dennis Quaid in “Wyatt Earp,” Stacy Keach in “Doc,” Willie Nelson in a Tv remake of “Stagecoach,” Victor Mature in “My Darling Clementine,” Cesar Romero in “Frontier Marshal,” Kirk Douglas in “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral,” Jason Robards in “Hour of the Gun.”

Holliday died of tuberculosis in 1887 at a Colorado sanitarium.

JUNEBUG

In the early 1970s, Valdosta need to have experienced some form of keep on film producers.

In addition to “Gator” currently being shot listed here, a film termed “Like a Crow on a June Bug” was built in the location.

Although the motion picture is finest remembered regionally as “Like a Crow on a June Bug,” it experienced a few of identify adjustments. It was also unveiled as “Sixteen” and “The Youthful Prey.” “Sixteen” is possibly the finest-identified title. No matter the identify, the movie is mostly neglected.

“Like a Crow on a June Bug” (1973) is the story of a younger country female who is tempted by the massive town everyday living. A handful of community names crop up in the film’s credits, this sort of as Jewell Futch, a former Lowndes County sheriff, actively playing a utilized-car salesman.

The movie starred a youthful Richard Thomas in advance of he turned renowned as John Boy Walton.

It also starred Mercedes McCambridge, who had a prestigious start in her acting vocation, profitable a ideal supporting actress Oscar for her display debut in “All the King’s Men” in 1942. And 1973 was a memorable year for her. Not only did she get to participate in Ma Erdly though becoming filmed in Valdosta, she supplied the demonic voice that cursed and growled from Linda Blair in “The Exorcist.”

RAY MCKINNON

The area has also made an Oscar winner of its own.

Ray McKinnon, an Adel indigenous and a Valdosta Condition Theatre graduate, has appeared in supporting roles in quite a few films and Tv set demonstrates.

His credits consist of a scientist in “Apollo 13,” “Long Bill” Coleman in the Tv set mini-series of author Larry McMurtry’s “Dead Man’s Stroll,” a function in “Somersby” starring Richard Gere and Jodie Foster. He was in “The Blind Aspect,” “Oh Brother, Wherever Art Thou?” “Driving Overlook Daisy,” “Deadwood.”

He is the executive producer of the present “Rectify.”

Various years back, McKinnon and some pals produced a short movie termed “The Accountant.” In 2002, “The Accountant” gained the best Oscar for small movie, and McKinnon was seen globally accepting his award.

FRIED Environmentally friendly TOMATOES

Even though a couple flicks have been filmed in or close to Valdosta, none of them actually mentions Valdosta.

It took a motion picture that was not filmed here to make Valdosta a crucial portion of its plot. Valdosta is described various instances in “Fried Environmentally friendly Tomatoes,” nevertheless the metropolis does not significantly get paid a nice name from this free publicity.

In “Fried Inexperienced Tomatoes,” Ruth’s physically abusive husband is from Valdosta.

When Ruth and her boy or girl return to her Alabama house, the partner gathers up a bunch of Ku Klux Klansmen from Valdosta in an endeavor to steal back again the little one.

The spouse is killed and a fictitious and suspicious Valdosta sheriff arrives looking for the missing Valdosta resident. As a substitute of getting a system, the Valdosta sheriff unknowingly gets a cannibal and eats the proof. Ruth’s dead, fictional spouse from Valdosta has been turned into barbecue.

Valdosta’s element in this beloved film concludes with a murder trial held in front of a fictional and belligerent Valdosta decide, in a fictional Valdosta courthouse that in no way resembles the inside of the historical Lowndes County Courthouse.

So, Valdosta’s large mention in a film paints the city as being stuffed with wife-beating, racist, little one-stealing, dim-witted cannibals. And to insert insult to harm, “Fried Eco-friendly Tomatoes” remains a common film that is often considered and broadcast about 30 several years following its debut and not a frame of it was filmed listed here.

FOR YOUR Consideration

A further fictional variation of Valdosta manufactured its way into the movies as element of “For Your Thought,” a 2006 movie from Christopher Visitor, the guy at the rear of irreverent comedy mockumentaries like “This Is Spinal Tap,” “A Mighty Wind” and “Waiting for Guffman.”

As with these other videos, “For Your Consideration” highlighted the normal forged of performers these types of as Catherine O’Hara, Fred Willard, Harry Shearer, Michael McKean and Eugene Levy, who co-wrote this film with Visitor.

Not like the other films, “For Your Consideration” is not a fake documentary. In its place, its conceit is that it is a film within just a film. As “A Mighty Wind” spoofed folks new music, “Best In Show” spoofed canine exhibits and “Spinal Tap” spoofed hefty steel, “For Your Consideration” spoofs Hollywood’s Oscar buzz and how it can have an impact on a cast and a movie’s manufacturing.

The film is established in modern-day occasions but is about the building of an impartial movie termed “Home for Purim.” The most important motion picture is about the actors, producers, etcetera., creating this motion picture that is producing Oscar talk. “Home for Purim,” the movie within the movie, is a 1940s/1950s drama about a Southern Jewish family acquiring jointly for the Jewish holiday break they check out to celebrate even though the mom is dying.

“Home for Purim’s” tale is set in Valdosta. The Valdosta of “Home for Purim” is fully a Hollywood creation. There may possibly be some serious touches of Valdosta, nevertheless.

Why pick Valdosta?

The movie’s co-writer Eugene Levy, who is the father in the award-winning sit-com “Schitt’s Creek,” said, “The plan of placing it in Valdosta, Ga., came from an encounter that Chris had where by he was performing in 1 of the Southern states and ran into some Jewish individuals who have been employing Yiddish text with a Southern dialect,” Levy said. “It just sounded funny, so we said, ‘Let’s set it in Ga and make it a time period piece.’”

ZOMBIELAND

Several Valdosta residents did their best walking dead impersonations in the late 2000s when producers for the movie “Zombieland” arrived to town.

Unveiled in 2009, “Zombieland” starred Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone in an undead comedy/journey.

It also highlighted dozens of Valdosta citizens portraying zombies at Wild Adventures, which was portrayed as a California concept park in the motion picture.

All through the filming, place citizens documented Woody Harrelson sightings through city as he visited region restaurants, pubs and shot hoops.

WE ARE MARSHALL

In 1970, the Marshall College Thundering Herd football team was returning dwelling, by plane, from an absent match. The airplane crashed and 75 individuals, most of the crew and coaching personnel, were being killed.

“We Are Marshall” (2006) portrays how the Marshall neighborhood dealt with that decline and how the workforce arrived back again the next period to participate in once again.

The movie’s Valdosta-Lowndes County connection: “Red” Dawson was a member of the Marshall coaching staff who was not on the airplane that evening. He lived and coached once more. Dawson is from Valdosta. He has relatives even now residing right here. He took an energetic function in the movie’s manufacturing.

Matthew Fox portrayed Dawson in the motion picture.

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