Chanin, now retired, said he received a call last summer from Erin G. Fisher, assistant location manager, requesting permission to take pictures around Osborne. He escorted her around the school and the football field, but thought nothing would come of it. He said she told him he would hear from her in two weeks, but it only took her two days to tell him Paramount Studios was gaining interest in filming there. Chanin recalls, “They said this looks really good.”
Through “lots of cooperation with the school district,” Chanin said the crew began prepping for filming. The pre-production, which took a little more than a week, included painting, adding lamps and modifying the name of the school. Chanin said, “They built a lot of stuff.”
However, he said, “A big bomb hit me” — the new football field was to be renovated Aug. 1. The solution: Chanin suggested using the school’s practice field, to which the crew approved. He was also able to get buses temporarily rerouted.
“This was the first time Paramount Studios attempted to shoot a movie during the school day,” he said. Only a few people knew about the film and, with the first day of school nearing, Chanin said he had to break the news and decided to do so at a faculty meeting.
“Can I introduce you guys so they know I’m not trying to pull their legs?” he recalls asking Craig Brewer, director, and the film crew. Students and teachers alike were excited about the movie being shot right outside their classrooms. With the exception of a morning announcement interrupting a take, Chanin said there were no issues on set.
Those familiar with the school will be able to spot the senior courtyard and media center in the film. Although current students were not allowed to act as extras, Osborne alumni came on board. Chanin, a self-proclaimed movie buff, was also able to get some screen time as an extra.
“I made friends with everybody,” he said. Brewer appreciated Chanin’s help — which included 3 a.m. call times to the set — so much that he gave him a director’s chair, complete with his name printed on it. Paramount Studios also donated money to the school, and Chanin and his wife, Joy, were invited to a production party at Stats in Midtown.
Brewer it was important for a film based in Georgia to be shot on location as opposed to on a sound stage or in a different state. In addition to Marietta, scenes were also shot in places such as downtown Atlanta, Acworth and Hiram.
“I couldn’t do that. I really believe in regional pride,” he said. “I want to see an Atlanta skyline when they go off into the big city. Atlanta has always given me a lot of love in my films.”
Kenny Wormald, who plays the lead role of Ren McCormack, said it was great filming in Georgia. He agrees with Brewer, saying, “It was good to come here and fully adapt to the world especially with being Ren, an outsider. I think it was an awesome opportunity to shoot on location and not fake it.”
Chanin said the experience, which took nearly six weeks, was sensational and the impact will be permanent. He said four framed handprints of crew members are at the school alongside those of former students.
Osborne’s reputation was also revamped. Chanin, who worked in the school system for 28 years, said the school always got a bad rap. He said he told the crew, “One of the reasons I want you guys here is to give it a fresh face.”
He added, “Osborne students are the best there are.”