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Top Vampire Diaries Film Locations in the ‘Reel’ Mystic Falls

Earlier this year, we ushered in the final moments of the eight-season series, The Vampire Diaries. For eight years in a row, CW production teams & crews took over areas of Covington, GA in order to create the landscape of fictional Mystic Falls. Because these local Vampire Diaries film locations are actual homes & structures shot on-location, it makes Mystic Falls come alive in a very reel way. Covington has branded itself #ForeverMysticFalls, because the spirit of the show and everyone’s favorite characters endure although the series has wrapped.

Luckily, the series is still available on Netflix so that fans may relive their favorite moments on-screen. The only thing better than watching your favorite moments of movie-magic are seeing and feeling them for yourself! Tours of film locations have been running for several years, and business is still booming even post-finale. The following spots are the top Vampire Diaries film locations in Downtown Covington, the reel Mystic Falls:

Courthouse and Square Park
vampire diaries film locations

This is the most popularly used local landmark throughout the entire Vampire Diaries series. Some of the most memorable moments of our historic courthouse and Square Park include Damon & Elena jumping off the top of the clocktower, Enzo’s steamy make-out session with the coat check girl, Alaric escaping from the sewer below the clocktower, and the Founders Day parade. These are just a few of the many countless moments on our square!

Covington has The Vampire Diaries to thank for eight years worth of film to make our historic square & courthouse the iconic tourist attractions that they are today. We are also pleased to welcome the popular supernatural spinoff, The Originals, to film in Newton County areas like local Porterdale, as well as Covington, and keep the spirit of Mystic Falls alive.

Mystic Grill

vampire diaries film locations
Photo via @nicolehaser on Instagram

Not only is the Mystic Grill Restaurant a great place for a bite to eat, it’s also a great way to see a piece of reel film history! A very popular scene that features the Mystic Grill as a location is when Lexi, Stefan’s longtime friend, is staked by Damon in Season 1.

The stairs on the side of the building are where one of the Original brothers, Finn, was staked in Season 3.  Damon also ripped out the heart of a stranger in the alleyway at the bottom of the stairwell in Season 7.

Worthington Manor -aka- Lockwood Mansion
vampire diaries film locations

This local home should look very familiar to any Vampire Diaries fan.  Worthington Manor is easily recognizable from the front gate as Lockwood Mansion, were many parties were held throughout the series, as well as the masquerade ball, founders ball, and the famous “Steroline” wedding in the series finale. Owners Ben and Ralph keep the grounds beautifully manicured so the location always looks just as pristine as it does on-screen.

The Gilbert House
vampire diaries film locations

There are several notable film moments that take place on the front porch of the Gilbert House, including the juicy Damon and Katherine kiss during the finale episode of Season 1.  This historic home on Floyd Street is also where Original brother, Klaus, tried to break down the front door in Season 3 to find Elena. According to the Vampire Diaries canon, Elena burned the house down in season 4 after her brother Jeremy was killed.

However, the reel Gilbert House is still very much intact, and was still continuously used for filming, especially in season 6, as well as the series finale. See if you can scope out this location by driving down historic Floyd Street!

Covington City Cemetery on Elm Street
vampire diaries film locations

Covington City Cemetery his is the very real and historic graveyard where many civil war soldiers and confederate congressman are buried. It is in this location that Isobel, Elena’s mother, took her life, in addition to being the burial place of Jon Gilbert and Aunt Jenna.  It’s also the location that Damon admitted to Stefan in Season 2 that he was dying of a werewolf bite, inflicted by Tyler Lockwood.

There are many other local homes & sites that can be identified as Vampire Diaries filming locations. All you have to do is re-watch episodes of the hit vampire series, and plan a trip to Covington, GA to experience the reel Mystic Falls! It just may haunt you forever if you don’t…

The ‘Reel’ Film Covington Experience: Film Tourism in Covington, GA

In the golden age of traveling fun and wanderlust, a popular travel trend on the rise is dedicated to film tourism. We’ve seen a huge surge in film tourism in Georgia over the past 10 years with Hollywood productions, big and small, flocking to the Peach State to set up shop. The state’s amazing film tax incentives and dynamic landscapes make it a great place to shoot. Covington, GA is among one of the first communities in Georgia to become “Camera-Ready” and has really reaped the benefits of film tourism in recent years. If you’d like to experience all things film in Covington/Newton County, we’ve got some very special attractions just for you!

In recent years, our Newton County Visitor’s Bureau has partnered with local merchants to develop a series of tours to satisfy your film tourism craving. The most popular tours available are with Vampire Stalkers/Mystic Falls Tours, where you’ll get the experience the on-location homes of Mystic Falls that are featured on both The Vampire Diaries and The Originals.

film tourism
Photo via @ifiwereacoolkid on Instagram

Visitors from all over the globe travel to our town daily to experience this tour. Tourists also have the ability to shop among a wide selection of vampire merchandise and memorabilia at the On Location Gifts store, run by Mystic Falls Tours.

Another tour that’s available on select evenings is the local Covington Ghost Tours. While this tour doesn’t focus as much on the film aspect of our community, visitors who take this tour are still able to see many of the historic homes featured on In the Heat of the Night, as well as the the cemetery featured in The Vampire Diaries. The tour also stops by our very own Twelve Oaks Bed & Breakfast— which has a very rich film history of its own!

Additionally, our team at the Visitor’s Center has developed a self-guided walking tour for viewing the antebellum homes just off the square, many of which were used on-location for In the Heat of the Night. There is also a self-guided tour map available of various Hollywood “stars” around the square that are included in the Covington Walk of Stars.

film tourism
Photo via @bryanridarick on Instagram

Our iconic courthouse on the Downtown Covington Square is quite famous when it comes to film. Visitors to the courthouse may view the set pieces from the movie Selma, which featured scenes inside the courthouse and on the square. The main courtroom on the second level was also used in the 2011 remake of Footloose, but is not available for regular tours. Other productions that show our courthouse & Square Park include The Vampire Diaries, Dukes of Hazzard, In the Heat of the Night, Remember the Titans, and Run Ronnie Run.

film tourism

The Georgia Department of Economic Development and Tourism with Explore Georgia designated Covington as one of the various areas in the state to receive a special Selfie Spot that shows off our courthouse in the background of your self-portraits. Visitors to the Square Park can find the blue and purple decal on the sidewalk with suggested hashtags: #GeorgiaFilm and #ForeverMysticFalls.

Another very special attraction we’ve just opened this week is Georgia’s first ever television & film museum, right here on the square. We are calling it our Pop-Up TV & Film Museum because it literally just popped up in this location, and we are hoping to find a more permanent home in the future. Our first visitors came to the soft opening of the museum on Saturday, July 1st, and we saw an incredible turnout of museum tourists during Stars & Stripes Fest this past Tuesday on July 4th.

film tourism
Photo via the Rockdale/Newton Citizen

Many of our visitors were thrilled to experience re-created scenes from The Vampire Diaries and have the chance to see and touch pieces from on-set. Also included are items from In the Heat of the NightSleepy Hollow, and many of the feature films that were shot here in Covington/Newton County. Though this museum is mainly featuring local production, we would like to offer our visitors a taste of all things Georgia Film. We are currently accepting donations of items related to Georgia state productions to show off to our many film tourists. Use and follow hashtag #FilmCovington to share your content and view content from other visitors.

film tourism
Photo via the Rockdale/Newton Citizen

And if this isn’t enough of a reel taste of the original Hollywood of the South®, we have a culinary tour of sorts with special “Hollywood” branded cocktails, local entrees, and sweet treats to curb your appetite. So what are you waiting for? Book your stay at one of our many great area hotels and come experience history, hauntings, Hollywood, and happiness!

Make Your 4th of July Sweeter with Sweet Home Alabama

For a great southern story of independence, ring in this upcoming 4th of July with Sweet Home Alabama. Having filmed in locations like Covington, Conyers, and Crawfordville, this box-office hit starring Reese Witherspoon, Patrick Dempsey, and Josh Lucas is a hilarious, heartfelt story that unfolds in small-town Pigeon Creek, AL.

Depicting a small town in Alabama like fictional Pigeon Creek is easy to do on-location in communities throughout Georgia because of the multitude of historic, antebellum homes that still stand in many of our small towns. Locations of many of the homes featured in this film span from Georgia to Eufala, Alabama. Though, most filming took place in Georgia due to our many great film incentives. Completing a production on-location, versus a film studio, allows a movie to have a real sense of authenticity and breathes life into scenes that are otherwise fabricated on-set.

sweet home alabama
On-Location at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, GA

Newton County houses the location of the Smooter’s family home, where protagonist Melanie’s mother and father live in this film. If you remember the hilarious moments that include Mr. Smooter showing his guests how to use his highfalutin reclining armchair, these are the scenes filmed at the on-location set of the Smooter’s Home.

If you ask us, Reese Witherspoon was absolutely perfect for the role of Melanie Carmichael/Smooter due to her sweet, southern charm and genuine personality. In fact, Charlize Theron was originally cast as Melanie before changing her mind at the last minute. It’s hard to imagine anyone other than petite and sweet Reese Witherspoon to play this part! And here’s a fun fact: the role of Melanie as a young girl was depicted by nearby Conyers native, Dakota Fanning. This kiss on-screen was Fanning’s first kiss in real life! Talk about small-town connections…

sweet home alabama

We especially love Sweet Home Alabama because of the underlying tones of finding yourself and staying true to your roots. This film is a true testament to that fact that you can take a girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of a girl. Melanie Smooter spends her time in the film trying to find her independence, and realizes she was home all along. This romantic comedy by Touchstone Pictures is a knockout hit!

sweet home alabama

Did you know that there was a shocking alternate ending for Sweet Home Alabama that was pulled after test screening? Check it out here:

We have an exciting annual 4th of July event planned this year for the 2017 Stars and Stripes Fest. In the original Hollywood of the South®, we hope to give you the special star treatment. Our historic, antebellum Twelve Oaks Bed & Breakfast is just as gorgeous as the Carmichael’s Mansion featured in the film, and this beautiful B&B offers a very special room called Suite Home Alabama for your night’s stay. So join us on July 4th for some family fun in Southern Hollywood, and celebrate your independence with Sweet Home Alabama.

Award-Winning Prisoners Movie: Filmed in Newton & Rockdale Co.

prisoners movie

The 2013 Academy-Award nominated Prisoners movie is a locally-lensed film starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal that will have you arrested in your seat until the very end. This Georgia-commissioned production was assigned to shoot in local areas like Porterdale, Conyers, and Monroe to depict the tale of two young girls who go missing after Thanksgiving dinner. As a matter of fact, producers made “Conyers” the on-camera town setting for this thrilling story. Shooting on-location at various spots around the local area make this film feel like authentic, everyday life—making the film much more eerie & suspenseful.

Anyone recognize this local stretch of I-20?

Scenes captured in our very own Porterdale, GA included local wooded areas as well as the Yellow River at the Porterdale Mill Lofts. In fact, Porterdale is the largest mill village that’s still almost 100% intact. This makes our tiny, historic mill town very attractive for film crews looking to shoot on-location.

A location scout who worked on Stephen King’s The Cell once mentioned that Porterdale is a very appealing town for production. “Porterdale is on everybody’s radar, because it’s very visually interesting. (Directors) like those long entry shots into small towns,” and the scout said Porterdale has a great entry with the Yellow River. In addition to a fantastic entry shot at the river, this little community also offers a railroad track, a bridge, and the original textile mill building—among many other original brick structures and mill homes.

Though this film didn’t win its nomination for the Academy Award, Prisoners won the Hollywood Film Award for Supporting Actor of the Year: Jake Gyllenhaal, as well as Toronto International Film Festival in 2013. The thriller was also recognized as the 3rd place winner in the People’s Choice Awards for Director Denis Villeneuve.

Director Villeneuve and Cinematographer Roger Deakins—who also mastered box-office films such as Sicario, Hail, Ceasar!, and Blade Runner 2049—also teamed up to implement their vision for this Prisoners movie. Villeneuve & Deakins put a huge emphasis on the little details like weather conditions & color pallettes to make this film feel more real to its audience. In a Behind-the-Scenes look at Prisoners, Villeneuve explained his precise vision for the tone of this film by shooting from a specific point of view in many scenes, so that the audience actually feels present in these movie-moments.

prisoners movie

If you want to know how the story ends, you’ll just have to watch Prisoners. No spoilers here! But if you enjoy a nail-biting thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat, we highly recommend this locally-lensed Georgia film. See if you can pick out the local homes and other locations featured in this Warner Brothers motion picture. And if you’d like to experience Porterdale, GA firsthand, then book your stay at nearby, newly remodeled La Quinta Inn & Suites and enjoy a thrill in the original Hollywood of the South™!

Behind the Scenes Look at High Octane: Episode 5 of Dukes of Hazzard

Earlier this month, June 5th was recognized as National Moonshine Day. This bootleggin’ homemade corn liquor has been a popular elixir of the Appalachian area since the early 1800’s. Some may say it’s strong enough to use as an alternative to fossil fuel. If you don’t believe us, just ask Uncle Jesse Duke of the Dukes of Hazzard!

Street scenes shown in the first five episodes of Dukes were filmed on location here in our little Southern town of Covington, GA. The fifth episode, named High Octane, takes place in polluted Hazzard County as Boss J.D. Hoggs convinces bootlegger Uncle Jesse to enter a contest for a newer, cleaner type of fossil fuel— using moonshine.

dukes of hazzard

Uncle Jesse gets to cookin’ at his hidden moonshine still to create a blend of White Lightnin’ strong enough to fuel the General Lee, not knowing that Boss Hoggs is actually trying set him up and take credit for the idea himself! [Fun fact: The brick part of the still used on set during these scenes is part of a real moonshine still that was found on the property, and is still preserved in the remote Georgia woods to this day!]

The start of High Octane begins with a high-flying car jump over an 18-wheeler truck, combined with the narration, “That’s Bo & Luke Duke. The way they’re duded up, they’ve got something cookin’…and you know it ain’t girls, ‘cause, it’s still daylight.” This amazing car flying stunt was shot just outside of Newton County, at the intersection of Hwy 20 and Bethel Rd, North of Conyers.

The very next scene shows the good ol’ Duke boys racing into town to meet Uncle Jesse, who is waiting on the steps of our real-life historic courthouse on the Downtown Covington Square. It’s always surreal to see scenes with the General Lee speeding through our square with Bo and Luke making a raucous— as usual!

Warner Brothers were also fans of the first 5 episodes filmed in Covington and surrounding areas, because they promptly decided to develop the original 9-episode CBS special into a full TV series. Filming of Dukes was then moved to California primarily to simplify production, and develop a larger workshop for servicing the vast number of General Lee’s and other vehicles involved in the franchise.

If you’d like to experience the premier Hazzard County like never before, plan a trip to Covington, GA and book your stay in the original Hollywood of the South™. Our brand new Pop-Up TV & Film Museum [the first in Georgia] will be opening very soon with special pieces featured from the Dukes of Hazzard. Don’t forget leave the square without stopping by the Irish Bred Pub for a frosty Hazzard County Redneck Colada, featuring coconut whiskey, creamy half & half, and pineapple juice.

If you’d like to see a clip of the High Octane intro, featuring the locations mentioned above, check out this video:

Behind the Scenes of Taken 3: They Are Going to Take You….to Georgia

What is that sound? There’s a shatter of broken glass from the other room, and footsteps of several men who are breaking into your home. You receive a phone call from a familiar, brooding voice giving you instructions on how to survive, and says, “The next part is very important. They are going to take you…”

taken 3
Liam Neeson Behind-the-Scenes of Taken 3

Does this sound familiar? Fans of the series of Taken movies should immediately recognize this famous quote by Liam Neeson’s former CIA agent character, Bryan Mills. It’s the suspenseful moment in the first Taken movie that sets the stage for the action-packed ride that encompasses these thriller films. The first two movies were filmed mainly in California and Paris, but French producers of these films had a different “take” on how to complete the principal photography for the third and final movie in the series, released in 2015. The plot twist is also much different in this film, since Liam Neeson reportedly told producers he would agree to shoot a third movie only if ‘nobody gets taken’.

After 17 days on set in Los Angeles, California, the Taken 3 production crew wrapped and packed up their gear to move to Atlanta, Georgia for the next three weeks of shooting. In these 21 days, cast and crew made a special appearance to nearby Newton County for scenes filmed at the old Newton High School. The high school has since been demolished, but you can still pick out scenes including the blue lockers in the hallways, the blue tile in the high school bathrooms, and various classrooms within the administrative building. The interrogation between Kim [Maggie Grace] and Detective Dotzler [Forest Whitaker] is among these particular scenes. [Fun fact: the old Newton High School gym was also used in the filming of American Reunion!]

taken 3

taken 3

The French production team of Taken 3 decided to take advantage of the film incentives in our state with this final film in the Taken series. Georgia is known to have some of the most generous film incentives of anywhere in the United States, in which filmmakers can recover up to 30% of their production costs. The transferable tax credit offered here in 2008 was undoubtedly a huge benefit for the producers since they also shot the last 26 days on a sound stage in Paris, so cutting costs wherever possible would be a huge plus.

taken 3

taken 3

Considering the growing repertoire of big-budget films produced and released in Georgia, it’s a fantastic place to live and work if you have a “very particular set of skills.” After all, Georgia is the new Hollywood, and Newton County is the original Hollywood of the South™! If you haven’t seen it yet, rent Taken 3 today, and enjoy the concluding chapter of this thrilling series. The plot twist in this film may have you taken by surprise…

Vacation Movie Reboot: Chug Run Scene at Twelve Oaks

“I don’t even remember the original Vacation.

…gripes a young James Griswold in the newest Vacation movie, released in 2015. “This vacation must stand on its own,” replies Rusty Griswold [played by Georgia-born Ed Helms], the now grown-up patriarch of the Griswold family. And yes, the play on words was completely intentional here.

vacation movie

This dialogue sums up the overall theme of the 2015 reboot, or what film executives refer to as a “sequel” to the landmark 1983 comedy, National Lampoon’s Vacation. Dynamic duo John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein, who also paired up to write Horrible Bosses, crafted the script for this addition to the Vacation series. Not only did Daley and Goldstein write the script for this comedy, but they were also both put in the director’s seat—a role that neither of them had prepared for!

“We’ve been approaching this,” Goldstein said, “like a kid whose dad gave him keys to one of the most beloved cars ever made.” And the executives at Warner Brothers spent many hours around a boardroom table discussing how to stay true to the Vacation movie fandom, while keeping this new film fresh and relatable to the modern-day family.

The premise of this sequel is to dive into the antics and struggles of a father & husband who, despite his best efforts, just can’t seem to keep his family satisfied.

Rusty’s wife, Debbie [played by Christina Applegate], would rather take a luxury vacation than a road trip, and their two sons are constantly battling each other throughout this hilarious film. One difference with this comedy, compared to the others, is the way they allow Debbie to shine a light on her past, and expose more of a backstory on her character. They wanted to show that Rusty’s wife was also fighting her own internal battles in accepting her role as a parent reaching middle-age. The film takes you on a journey to Debbie’s college alma mater, where they stumble upon the front lawn of the “Tri Pi” house during a boisterous outdoor party.

vacation movie

Our local, historic landmark, The Twelve Oaks Bed & Breakfast, was chosen as the perfect setting for this film’s sorority house. This location is no stranger to a film crew, as it’s been featured in other Hollywood productions like The Vampire Diaries, In the Heat of the Night, Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys, HBO’s Bessie, Southern Fried Homicide, and more.

The front lawn was decorated with signs and college-aged extras, in addition to the balcony of the home adorning the “Tri Pi” Greek letters. During this scene, Debbie is recognized by three sisters as the former Debbie-Do-Anything, and they begin to rattle off a rather embarrassing resume of things she supposedly did while in college. One of these crazy antics in question includes her climbing the clocktower naked, which was surprising for the script to mention since our iconic courthouse/clocktower was never shown on-film. But for those of us who are familiar with Downtown Covington, we totally get the reference!

vacation movie

Debbie then tries to prove herself by completing the Tri Pi Chug Run on a gauntlet of inflatable obstacles, a challenge which she claims to have invented while she was an active member. But like anything else that happens within the Vacation series, things did not go as well as Debbie had intended. Rent the 2015 Vacation movie today to check out the chug run scene featuring the local Twelve Oaks, and to see what happens next. You may even get inspired for your own road trip and vacation fun this summer in the original Hollywood of the South™!

Inside the Reel Houses of Mystic Falls: Grams Bennett

grams bennett's house

It’s no secret that Covington/Newton County is home to the famous Mystic Falls clocktower, the Gilbert House, and Lockwood Mansion. But did you know that the character for Bonnie’s Grandmother, Sheila Bennett or Grams Bennett, also lived in a local house was used on location for filming? This magical matron was the co-star in many episodes of The Vampire Diaries, and we bet you could spot scenes using the local home if you really pay attention!

grams bennett's house

Witchcraft is the force of power that drives Grams, and it wasn’t until later in the series that we found out that Bonnie is capable of being a very powerful witch as well. According to The Vampire Diaries fandom, the Bennett’s are descendants from the long line of famously powerful witches of Salem. Even at her advanced age, Grams Bennett was still a very powerful witch—which is ultimately what ended her life.

grams bennett's house

“You know your happiness means everything to me,” is a typical line one might hear from their grandmother. But we all know that Sheila Bennett is one feisty granny you most definitely do not want to anger! Her most epic moment of magic was while talking to Damon, her most unfavorite vampire, and exclaimed “You don’t wanna mess with me!” before inflicting him with intense, crippling pain.

Our last moments with Sheila Bennett were in episode Fool Me Once, after overuse of her own witchcraft on behalf of her beloved granddaughter. She and Bonnie successfully lowered a spell on the tomb that contained Katherine, and doing this greatly weakened Grams. She peacefully died on her bed at the end of that episode, but the Bennett legacy continued to live on.

After all, don’t forget Grams Bennett’s famous quote: “Witches talk, even on the other side.”

grams bennett's house

But don’t worry, there’s nothing witchy to worry about at this local film location! The quaint little cottage-style home located on Conyers street isn’t open for tours, but can still be admired from the public street or sidewalk. If you’re interested in learning more about this Mystic Falls film location and other stops on the self-guided tour in the Hollywood of the South™, visit our Facebook page and contact us today!

Southern Fried Homicide: Served with a Side of Small-Town Charm

southern fried homicide

“Murder, with a side of biscuits and gravy.” -ID Network President and General Manager, Henry Schleiff

This was the premise behind the Investigation Discovery series titled Southern Fried Homicide. The show began in 2013 as a 10-part series, and since then has filmed 2 additional seasons. In fact, the launch of the show was part of ID’s best night in network history. Southern Fried Homicide drew more than a million viewers!

southern fried homicide
Behind-the-Scenes of the Southern Fried Homicide S2 Promo

This Southern-set series showcases stories of real-life murders that have occurred in the Southern part of the United States. Actress Shanna Forrestall narrates the tales being told in this series, and according to Deep South Magazine, added a bit of humor to the stories of these crimes with the use of Southern idioms. “ID created a show about murders in the South and specific kinds of murders and family, and then there’s me as the storyteller character that gives snarky comic relief to the gruesomeness of what we’re talking about,” said Forrestall.

southern fried homicide
Behind-the-Scenes of the Southern Fried Homicide S2 Promo

So, what does this all have to do with Covington, you ask? Well, it just so happens that our gorgeous Twelve Oaks Bed and Breakfast was selected as the set location for the Season 2 promo for this suspenseful series! The promotional commercial shot at Twelve Oaks showcases the beautiful dining room, front lawn, and their “Suite Home Alabama” bathroom. According to BarkBark, the production team behind this Investigation Discovery promo, “Our antebellum manor location inspired by Ashley’s “Twelve Oaks” in Gone With the Wind, provided us with plenty of charm… but we still had to dress out an elegant walk-in closet (since those weren’t around in 1836).” And you wouldn’t believe the setup they had to create just to accomplish the first shot in this promo, of the murderous southern belle washing her face! It’s amazing to see the hard work and ingenuity that goes into creating film and “Movie Magic.”

Previous episodes of these “true stories of murder, with manners” can be purchased for viewing on Amazon Prime or YouTube. Check out the Season 2 promo of Southern Fried Homicide, featuring the Twelve Oaks on BarkBark’s website: http://www.barkbark.com/projects/id-southern-fried-homicide-promo/

And if you’d like to stay at the historic Twelve Oaks for a Southern Fried taste of Hollywood, yourself, click here to book your stay now!

The Realistic Plane Crash Scene in Flight (2012)

plane crash scene

Flight (2012) | Filmed in Newton County

It’s truly amazing to see what a film production can do with the hard work of their crew and designers, paired with post-editing effects and CGI. What we often refer to as “Movie Magic” is a result of many hours poured into preparing a specific vision, and then making that vision become reality. The mark of a truly great production is one that can make this alternate-film-reality become very real to its audience. Have you ever watched a film with an action scene that was so realistic, it made you cringe? This is how we feel about the plane crash scene in the 2012 film Flight, especially with this pivotal scene having been shot here in Newton County.

After scouting various locations, including Oklahoma, screenwriter John Gatins finally landed on the decision to film this project in Atlanta. He wanted a location that offered urban areas and rural landscapes with enough space to film the riveting plane crash scene. Gatins teamed up with production designer Nelson Coates at his helm, and chose local Green Valley Farms on Hwy 278 as the perfect crash site location.

plane crash scene

The production crew went into more detail about the making of Flight behind-the-scenes, and noted that there was an entire plane cabin built as a set piece to recreate this devastating crash. The cabin weighed in at 30,000 pounds, and was strapped to a giant rotating gimbal. So not only does the plane cabin set make this scene more realistic, but the panicked reactions coming from passengers & crew members were probably authentic. The actors cast as these characters were literally suspended, and hanging upside down during filming! This particular scene was filmed from both sides of the cabin, and then spliced together using low-key CGI. The resulting effect is very disorienting effect for viewers, and intensely more realistic.

plane crash sceneBuilding a true-to-size plane cabin wasn’t the only set piece that was necessary to pull off this crash. A 47-foot Pentecostal church was also erected at Green Valley Farms, which would be demolished by the plane, using CGI effects, during its descent towards the ground. On an empty field below, they placed the broken fuselage and other pieces of aircraft in a smoldering heap nearby. “That bluff also gave us a way to show the audience from up high what the plane looked like,” producer Steve Starkey explains. Starkey notes that the crash site is the single largest set piece of any of the films he’s produced. Director Robert Zemeckis has prior experience with shooting a plane crash scene, as he also perfected the disorienting crash that occurred in Cast Away. And many claim that the crash in Flight is one of the most realistic ever captured on film.

Green Valley Farms is not open to the public, but the field used on-set can be seen right off of Hwy 278 in Newton County. And the Hollywood “star” for Denzel Washington in Flight can be visited at the Walk of Stars at the corner of Clark St. & Monticello St. on the Square in Downtown Covington, GA. No tour guide needed! And if you also happen to be an aviation enthusiast, plan to fly in and make a pit stop at our convenient local Covington airport, fuel up at one of our great local restaurants for lunch, and see what the original Hollywood of the South has to offer!