Ah, the Academy Awards. Who doesn’t love the Oscars? And we’ll all be watching them, right, even if Seth McFarlane is hosting them. If we needed one (and we don’t) this would be a great excuse to look at some of the amazing places to eat in Atlanta that have served as a location in some popular movies in recent years.
To get the lowdown on locations, we talked to Carrie Sagel Burns and Patti Davis at Atlanta Movie Tours. They’ve been giving tours of filming locations in and around Atlanta for a year now, and they currently offer two options: the first, the Southern Movie Tour, is for movies in general. The second is the Big Zombie Tour, which visits locations used in the hugely popular AMC TV show, The Walking Dead.
If you ever wanted to see the Piggly Wiggly from Driving Miss Daisy, or check out the hotel where the Gone With the Wind cast stayed when the movie premiered (it’s The Georgian Terrace which is also home to Livingston Restaurant and Proof & Provision), or even take a look at where the original screen version of Hannibal Lecter (played by Brian Cox in Manhunter) was locked up, Atlanta Movie Tours is a great way to spend an afternoon. And coming this Christmas, AMT is launching an amazing new weekend experience around The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which filmed in Atlanta in 2012, so keep your eyes on the site for that (and we’ll shout about it if you miss it).
So why is Atlanta such a popular location? How is it becoming known as Hollywood of the South? Well, a long warm summer certainly helps, and predictable weather patterns help, too. But we also have a great mix of urban, suburban, town, country, McMansions, high-rises, 100-year old working class houses, and enough small town-feeling neighborhoods that almost any kind of movie can be shot here. Atlanta can stand-in for almost any American city at street level, if you don’t look too closely.
Drip & Johnny’s Hideaway – Hall Pass
Two guys are given a one week “hall pass” by their wives in an attempt to cure their wandering eyes, which mostly wander in the direction of a local baristress, who works at Drip in Glenwood Park coffee shop. Later in the movie, the guys try their luck in the bar and club scene and head to Johnny’s Hideaway.
Homegrown – Trouble with the Curve
An aging Atlanta Braves scout heads to North Carolina for one last scouting trip, and his estranged daughter comes along, to rebuild their delicate relationship.If you’ve eaten at Homegrown, you’ll recognize the diner. If you haven’t, head down to Memorial Drive to scout out this major league breakfast spot.
The Shed at Glenwood – The Blind Side
Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for her role as an interior designer who fosters a runaway teen and guides him to a successful career as a football player. In a scene where Michael, the teenager, meets his brother, who is working in a restaurant, The Shed at Glenwood Park makes for a classy backdrop to a moving moment.
Ecco – The Change-Up
This well-meaning comedy fell flat at the box office. It’s about a family man and a ladies’ man who swap bodies, and neither is prepared for what living the other’s life involves. Ecco, in Midtown, is a perfectly elegant restaurant for a big date, and that’s how The Change-Up uses it.
Belly – What to Expect When You’re Expecting
A cast of famous faces star in this movie about the lives of five pregnant couples. In the movie, Katherine Heigl owns a bakery named Fraiche, but we know it as Belly: the place on the corner of Highland and St. Charles that serves up amazing sandwiches and bagels.
Gwinnett Diner – Wanderlust
Another comedy. Well, kind of. Paul Rudd’s New York company goes broke. Jennifer Aniston fails to sell her documentary to HBO, and so the couple heads to Atlanta to live with Rudd’s brother while they figure out what to do next. On the way, they run into Alan Alda’s hippie commune and decide to stay a while. As the movie heads towards the home straight, Diaz meets Alda at this Lawrenceville diner.