By Dianne Yost staff writer
Madison and Hollywood have a lot in common these days. Evidence of the vast production crew for the movie Goosebumps, starring Jack Black, currently filming in downtown Madison is hard to miss. The parking lot on West Washington Street in downtown Madison is now crammed to capacity with trailers for actors and production crew members, the Madison-Morgan Welcome Center has been transformed into Goosebumps’ Madison Police Department and local shops along West Jefferson Street now have new, interesting facades including a faux bank ATM machine upon which a gigantic monstrous claw has attacked! Goosebumps Producer Neal H. Moritz said that after scouting Madison six months ago with director Rob Letterman, Madison became the first choice for the film.
“The unique and stunning architecture of this picture-perfect town will enhance our story, look terrific on the big screen and Madison will become another character in the film. We can’t thank the people of Madison enough for welcoming us with open arms during our filming preparations and we look forward to a successful shoot this month,” said Moritz. The addition of 480 Goosebumps crew members working in Madison and Morgan County is having a positive impact on the local economy with 342 hotel rooms booked in Madison alone. But that’s not all, some 3,000 extras will be on hand during the filming which will surely impact our retail and restaurant businesses.
The Goosebumps film also could have a huge long-term economic impact on Madison as well. “Film-based tourism is on the rise and Madison is the centerpiece of this mega film,”said Ellen Ianelli, Madison-Morgan Convention & Visitor’s Bureau Director. Indeed, the City of Covington is currently touting itself as The Hollywood of the South, offering tours of famous film sites in the city. In addition, the State of Georgia launched a website, cometourgeorgia.com, specifically to capture tourists interested in visiting cities featured as locations for now-famous television series shows. Footloose, which was filmed in Morgan County is prominently featured on the website.
Goosebumps, to be released August 2015, is about teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnett) and beautiful Hannah (Odeya Rush) who lives next door and whose father is R.L. Stine (Jack Black), the author of the bestselling Goosebumps series. The real fun begins as the monster’s in Stine’s books become real when they are accidentally unleashed by Zach. The film is being directed by Rob Letterman. Producers are Neal H. Moritz and Deborah Forte with executive producers Bill Bannerman and Tania Landau. Until Sony’s Goosebumps hits movie theaters in 2015, a lot of work is left to do and that includes a hectic filming schedule that will temporarily close downtown Madison roads and parking spaces this week.