VALDOSTA — It’s the most talked about secret in town.
Shooting for the movie “Zombieland” has been underway for the past couple weeks at Wild Adventures and the old Crackin’ Good Bakers Inc. site on North Forrest Street. “ZLP” signs, presumably “Zombieland Parking” — or maybe “Zombieland Productions” or “Zombieland People” or even “Zooropa Lemming Pendleton” for all anybody who might know will say — sit curbside along the North Forrest Street site.
Movie star Woody Harrelson has reportedly been spotted playing basketball at Valdosta State University, playing soccer with kids, hanging out in restaurants like Charley O’Corley’s and Flip Flops in Remerton. Reports of Woody Harrelson sightings have been rampant — almost all of these reports have the added commentary that he’s a great guy, very open and friendly. He’s more like Woody from “Cheers,” in terms of his friendliness, thankfully, rather than Mickey Knox from “Natural Born Killers.”
Numerous local folks are working on “Zombieland” as extras and behind the scenes. A casting call last month attracted hundreds of folks wishing to be zombies.
Many of these local folks tell everyone they meet that they are working on the movie — only to add that they can’t talk about working on the movie. So, they talk about how they can’t talk about the movie.
They will say they signed confidentiality forms stating they cannot talk about the film: A full disclosure about their inability to disclose anything.
In addition to most of the local zombies and crew keeping mum, “Zombieland” is a closed set. This means information on the movie is sporadic and could be as much rumor as truth. Some reports claim weather delayed filming, while other reports claim filming in Valdosta wraps by the end of this week. Considering Wild Adventures re-opens for the season in two weeks, the movie will have to end soon.
One Wild Adventures employee, not officially speaking for comment, recently said the movie folks have “taken over the park” the past couple weeks. Wild Adventures has made no official comment about the filming of “Zombieland” at the park.
Yet, the park has apparently accommodated its facilities for the movie. Walking in production areas of the park on an afternoon, you can see people preparing items for filming. A wardrobe person works with what appears to be “bloodied,” tattered zombie clothes hanging from racks outside the back door of a park theatre. There are reports that a car lands in a pond at the park. Since it is a zombie movie, most scenes are reportedly filmed at night.
Based on reports at the time of the January casting call, producers chose Valdosta because of Wild Adventures.
“Zombieland” is reportedly a comedy zombie movie. The Internet Movie Database (imbd.com) provides a brief “Zombieland” synopsis: “In a world overrun by zombies, a guy described as ‘the most frightened person on Earth’ looks to find refuge for a band of people to safety.” Internet traffic on the movie also mentions “an old funeral home that is turned into a morbid attraction called Zombieland.”
“Zombieland” is even described as a “buddy picture,” about a “mismatched pair of survivors who find friendship and redemption in a world overrun by zombies,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The movie will reportedly be released either late this year or in 2010.
Ruben Fleischer is the reported director. Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese wrote the screenplay. Their past credentials have spurred additional rumors that “Zombieland” isn’t an actual zombie movie but a movie about a town (Valdosta) that thinks it is making a zombie movie.
Fleischer’s credits include working with the movie “Borat” and with reality shows.
Wernick and Reese’s past credits include “Invasion Iowa,” a reality TV show where Riverside, Iowa, the Midwestern birthplace of “Star Trek’s” fictional Captain James T. Kirk, is led to believe William Shatner is filming a major motion picture there. Producers “punked” the entire town into believing they were filming a movie when, in reality, the whole show was about the town’s reaction to being part of a movie.
Several Valdosta folks involved with the movie say this rumor appears to be untrue. “Zombieland,” they say, appears to be an actual movie about zombies instead of a movie about Valdostans who think they are playing zombies in a zombie movie.
There are several definitions of a zombie. One is “a supernatural power or force that supposedly makes the dead move and act.” Another definition, according to ye olde World Book Dictionary, claims a zombie is “a very stupid, lethargic person.”
Only time will tell which definition will fit Valdosta and “Zombieland.”
Psst! There’s a movie in town
VALDOSTA — It’s the most talked about secret in town.
- Local News
Nashville honors history, musical tradition
There were more than a few Nashville residents and guests from out of town fiddlin’ around Saturday to celebrate the grand opening of the Georgia Humanities Council and Smithsonian New Harmonies exhibit, celebrating roots music from the state and across the Deep South.
Locals, out-of-towners come out for food, fun at Peach Festival
The Morven Peach Festival drew a smaller crowd than usual in its 26th year, but planners weren't complaining.
Coliform found in drinking water
The cause of a water quality issue is still under investigation by the City of Valdosta Utilities Department after a water sample taken from a line in the area near the intersection of St. Augustine Road and West Hill Avenue tested positive for coliform bacteria.
The Big One: Preparing for mid-America earthquake
It’s a bleak scenario. A massive earthquake along the New Madrid fault kills or injures 60,000 people in Tennessee. A quarter of a million people are homeless. The Memphis airport — the country’s biggest air terminal for packages — goes off-line. Major oil and gas pipelines across Tennessee rupture, causing shortages in the Northeast. In Missouri, another 15,000 people are hurt or dead. Cities and towns throughout the central U.S. lose power and water for months. Losses stack up to hundreds of billions of dollars.
Preparing South Georgia for a disaster
A pair of specialized urban rescuers shed some of their protective gear for a moment and exchange relieved smiles because, on the roads across the swamps of residential rubble, a caravan of Lowndes citizens returns to a county that, according to Lowndes officials, was able to repair its wounds in the aftermath of a Category 5 storm due to a dynamic package of disaster plans.
Valdosta police honor Moody security force
Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress awarded a set of challenge coins Friday to 12 members of Moody Air Force Base’s security forces. The coin ceremony served as a thank-you from the Valdosta Police Department for the base’s operational support in handling bomb threats and helping in community matters.
Charges filed in bomb threat made from jail
A pair of inmates received additional charges this week when they reportedly phoned a bomb threat from the Lowndes County Jail to South Georgia Medical Center Tuesday, according to the Valdosta Police Department.
Echols deputies seize a half-million in pot
A public indecency call late Friday afternoon led to the seizure of a marijuana grow house, 38 mature plants, and the arrest of an Echols County man, according to the Echols County Sheriff’s Office.
Weekend Update: Morven Peach Festival
News reporter Caitlin Barker speaks to representatives Sandy Rentz and Dawana Nunnally from the Morven Peach Committee, about the Peach Festival taking place this Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. The band Trailer of Tears will play from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., followed by a parade taking place at 2 p.m.
Peach tarts, peach ice cream, a peach parade and the Peach Queen — it’s time for the 26th Annual Morven Peach Festival.
- More Local News Headlines
- Nashville honors history, musical tradition