The bright lights of Hollywood are back in Cobb County as a new film is shooting in and around Marietta Square for the next week.
The movie, titled “Tyson’s Run,” will star Major Dodson of “Walking Dead” fame in the title role, and also feature Amy Smart, known for her role in “The Butterfly Effect,” Rory Cochrane of “Argo” and “CSI: Miami,” as well as Barkhad Abdi, who was nominated for an Academy Award for portraying a Somali pirate in “Captain Phillips.”
Speaking between takes outside Shillings on the Square Monday, co-producer and second assistant director Jasmine White said the film tells the story of a boy on the autism spectrum who hopes to connect with his father by training for a marathon.
“He goes through all the bullying, challenges, just different things that high school kids deal with; however, he has Asperger’s,” she said. “It’s a real tear-jerker.”
As White spoke, members of the film crew walked in and out of Shillings carrying picture frames. When the crew yelled “Rolling!” extras took turns walking past the restaurant’s windows as scenes were being filmed inside.
The film is written and directed by Kim Bass, whose previous work includes sitcoms “Sister, Sister” and “Kenan and Kel.”
White said the crew will film about 70 percent of the movie in Marietta, including scenes around Marietta Square and in homes, though the running scenes will be shot in Stockbridge.
“Marietta is beautiful, and it’s a beautiful place to film movies,” she said. “I’m sure you guys know that. People are here all the time.”
Cobb Travel and Tourism CEO Holly Quinlan agreed.
“We definitely have seen growth in filming within the county, in fact, last year I received about 275 requests for locations,” she said.
Quinlan said sometimes producers know exactly where they want to film, while other times they are looking for advice.
“Typically, they’re looking for something very specific that goes along with their script, so we help them find a location they’re looking for,” Quinlan said. “Sometimes they know, like, we want the Marietta Square. Other times, they have an idea and we help them figure out where they can be.”
According to Gov. Nathan Deal’s office, film and television productions generated an economic impact of $9.5 billion in Georgia during fiscal year 2017.
Quinlan said the data on the film industry’s economic impact is not broken down into county levels.
“Even though we can’t give it a specific number from staying in hotels, eating in our restaurants and spending time in other various establishments here in Cobb County, it definitely makes a difference.”
White said “Tyson’s Run” will be released in theaters in 2019.