Hollywood comes to Cherokee County

CANTON, April 13, 2015 – Just call Cherokee County “Y’allywood.” With all of the buzz from the upcoming Tom Cruise drug-crime thriller, “Mena,” filling the air, there is no better time than now to announce that this spring and summer Cherokee County will be no stranger to the film industry.

The Cherokee Office of Economic Development (COED) has been actively working with scouts, producers and location managers of more than one major motion picture. Projects starring the likes of Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel, Steve Martin and Michael Keaton will be shooting in Cherokee County in the weeks and months to come. Misti Martin COED President credits the State’s Camera Ready program and hard work for the attention the county is receiving from Hollywood saying, “We have worked diligently since becoming a Camera Ready community in 2011 to build relationships with scouts and to grow the Camera Ready Reel Scout database. Few know there is a committee of community representatives established by COED to identify unique features of Cherokee that could attract film prospects.”

The first project to be filmed over the next several weeks is “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” an adaptation of the 2012 novel penned by Ben Fountain. The film follows the story of U.S. soldiers sent on a PR tour after returning from battle. This production will be filming scenes at the Georgia National Cemetery and through coordination with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, will be shooting a rolling road block scene along I-575.

Downtown Canton will also see some of the Hollywood excitement with “The Founder,” a story about Ray Kroc’s success in turning McDonald’s into a food empire. The John Lee Hancock film is set to use the old Canton Cotton Mill Offices at 221 W. Main St. for filming this summer. Oscar nominee Michael Keaton will star as Kroc. The film is already garnering attention from the entertainment community, one publication calling the film “a project every studio in Hollywood apparently wanted to be part of.”

Having found Ball Ground through the Camera Ready Reel Scout database, “Mena” will be gracing the streets of the north Cherokee city sometime this summer. From the initial contact with COED on February 23rd to the confirmation that the City of Ball Ground will be used as the title city in the film, many moving parts had to come together to make this come to fruition. “Hours were spent speaking with film scouts and searching out locations that could accommodate the project’s needs” said Martin. “Both COED and representatives at the City worked tirelessly to find sites that would make “Mena” come to life the way the producers and scouts envisioned it. This is a huge win for our county.”

“This is an exciting time for Cherokee. It is through our partnership with the State’s Camera Ready program, the Cities and the County that attracting major film projects such as these is made possible,” began COED Chairman, Marshall Day. “We have great momentum. I can’t wait to see what is next.”