COVID-19 put the brakes on dozens of movies and TV shows that had been planning to shoot in metro Atlanta. But in the past 12 weeks or so, with safety protocols in place, many studios have resumed work. It’s not at pre-COVID levels yet, but motors are revving.
“Georgia film is back on track,” says Lee Thomas, deputy commissioner of the Georgia Film Commission. “Our sound stages are almost full and numerous productions are underway,” she says. “We’re working every day with our productions to help them keep working safely.”
Tyler Perry Studios reopened and began filming July 15, with no reported cases of COVID on set. That may have helped convince other studios to follow suit. Here’s a look at what’s filming in and around metro Atlanta. It’s a mix of big-studio films, independent features and TV series. Superheroes remain a recurring theme.
SERENITY NOW, the sequel to 2019’s Spider-Man From Home, is probably the highest-profile title. Tom Holland is back as Peter Parker. Zendaya and Marisa Tomei also return, with Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon/Electro. The Disney/Marvel production is scheduled for release at Christmas 2021.
DEAR EVAN HANSEN, the film version of the musical Dear Evan Hansen is about to wrap in Atlanta. The Broadway show cleaned up at the 2017 Tony awards, earning six statues. Ben Platt reprises his Tony-winning performance as the title character, a high-school student learning how to accept himself after a classmate’s suicide. Julianne Moore is Evan’s mom. The strong supporting cast includes Amy Adams, Amandla Stenberg (from the Atlanta-filmed The Hate U Give) and Kaitlyn Dever. Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) directs. Look for the Universal Pictures’ release sometime in 2021. No date has been specified.
SAMARITAN, the Sylvester Stallone drama from MGM is finishing its shoot. It follows a young boy who discovers that a missing superhero he has long admired may still be alive. The cast includes Dascha Polanco (Orange Is the New Black) and young actor Javon “Wanna” Walton (Euphoria, the upcoming Addams Family 2). Atlanta stage/film actor Joe Knezevich is also credited. Julius Avery directs. Look for it June 4.
ALICE, a character-driven thriller inspired by true events, is close to wrapping. Keke Palmer (Akeelah and the Bee, Longshots, Joyful Noise) Common, Jonny Lee Miller and Sinqua Walls are featured in this story of a woman in servitude in 1800s Georgia, who escapes the 55-acre confines of her captor to discover what exists beyond the tree line. Krystin Ver Linden writes and directs.
COP SHOP, an action-thriller with Gerard Butler, is expected to finish production in mid-December. The story involves a hitman, a female cop and a con man, and explores how their lives intersect. Joe Carnahan (Narc, The A-Team, The Gray) writes and directs.
ASSISTED LIVING and YOUNG DYLAN are filming their second seasons at Tyler Perry Studios in southwest Atlanta (once the site of the U.S. Army’s Fort McPherson). In Assisted Living, Na’im Lynn plays the patriarch of a young family with teenage children who decides to move to the backwoods of Georgia to help his crazy Grandpa Vinny (J. Anthony Brown). Perry writes and directs. In Young Dylan the title character (Dylan Gilmer) is an aspiring hip-hop artist. His grandmother sends him to live with the family of her affluent son, where lifestyles clash. Both air on BET. Mieko Hillman, Hero Hunter, Carl Anthony Payne II, Celina Smith and Aloma Wright are also in the cast. Young Dylan is on BET.
HOUSE OF PAYNE, another Perry project on BET, is finishing its eighth season. The dramedy follows members of a multigenerational family that lives together under one roof. LeVan Davis, Cassi Davis and Palmer Williams Jr. lead the cast.
THE WALKING DEAD is wrapping its 10th season, and its producers are prepping for Season 11. The horror series, set in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, is shot on locations in Atlanta and Senoia, 35 miles to the south. If you haven’t checked in for a while, you’ll notice a sizable turnover in the cast. Most of its originals have left, often exiting with a gruesome death scene. Norman Reedus (10 seasons) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (five seasons) remain. It airs on AMC.
OZARK — shot in Atlanta, Norcross, Woodstock and Lake Allatoona — just began filming its fourth and final season. Regular cast members Jason Bateman, Laura Linney and two-time Emmy Award winner Julia Garner — return to continue the downward spiral of a family whose financial adviser dad drags them from Chicago to Missouri, where he launders money to appease a drug boss. Spoiler alert: Janet McTeer (as Helen Pierce, the drug cartel’s attorney) won’t be back (see last season’s bloody finale). Start looking for new episodes on Netflix in mid to late 2021,
- Three TV series are into their fourth seasons: BLACK LIGHTNING, the superhero action drama with Nafessa Williams and James Remar on the CW (returning February 8); the Fox medical drama THE RESIDENT, which shoots at the Woodruff Arts Center, Piedmont Park and other Midtown sites, with Matt Czuchry, Emily VanCamp, Bruce Greenwood, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Shaunette Renée Wilson, Jane Leeves and Manish Dayal (reportedly returning January 12); and the CW reboot of the nighttime soap opera DYNASTY, with Grant Show as Blake Carrington. and Nicollette Sheridan as Alexis Carrington. No air date is set.
- Look for signs of the Disney series LOKI around town. Tom Hiddleston returns as the superhero he created in Thor. Also with Richard E. Grant, Owen Wilson and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. It will shoot here through early December.
- Starz’ HEELS, in which two brothers become rivals in small-town Georgia, is filming here. It was postponed in October when actor Stephen Amell injured his back.
- The CW has started production on the second season of STARGIRL (with Brec Bassinger) and the third season of LEGACIES (with Danielle Rose Russell). TV movies in the pipeline include Lifetime’s ENVY.
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