With an appealing 20% tax credit (30% if the Georgia logo is displayed), the Atlanta, Georgia area is third behind Los Angeles and New York in film and television production. Recent movies in production in the Atlanta area include Anchorman 2, the Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire and Million Dollar Arm, starring Jon Hamm.
Television shows filmed in Georgia include Drop Dead Diva, Necessary Roughness and, of course, The Walking Dead. Atlanta Movie Tours takes entertainment junkies to some of the locations from recent films including Identity Thief, Hall Pass and What to Expect When You’re Expecting as well as classic flicks like Driving Miss Daisy. Atlanta Movie Tours also currently runs two separate tours featuring locations used on The Walking Dead. During the 3-hour tours, guests are treated to behind-the-scenes stories from tour guides who are extras on the shows and films shot around Atlanta.
We were able to spend a few moments with Patti Davis, one of the co-creators and founders of this exciting new Atlanta tourist attraction, and chat with her about the genesis of the tours and Atlanta’s growing reputation as “Hollywood South”.
Socialite Life: How did the idea for Atlanta Movie Tours come about?
Patti Davis: My business partner Carrie Sagel Burns and I were out to dinner one night. We were just acquaintances at the time. At dinner, we both started talking about how much we loved The Walking Dead and she said when friends came into town or people came down for DragonCon, she’d take them around to the locations and I was like, “I would love to see those locations! I’m a big fan. We should do that for a living.” I had no idea if we would work together well, it just sounded like a good idea. The next morning, I called her and said “I still think this is an amazing idea. Let’s do this.” We incorporated the next day. So pretty much, we started because of The Walking Dead – and the Big Zombie Tour 1 and 2 have been our signature tours. They’ve been sold out every weekend and now we’ve added a Wednesday tour for the summer and it’s been selling out as well. We brought these zombie tours to hotel concierges all across the city and they told us we needed a different tour – one that’s just general – so we came up with the Atlanta Film Sites Tour. We knew tons of things were being filmed, friends were calling us and telling us about shoots, so we put together the route and the script and we put out a call on Facebook and Twitter for guides and expediters and volia!
SL: Can you tell me a little more about the Big Zombie Tours?
Patti: The Big Zombie Tour 1 covers shooting locations from seasons 1 and 2. Our guests visit the hospital from the very first episode, along with the CDC, the Goat Farm and the Jackson Street Bridge, which where the iconic shot from the opening credits was filmed. In addition to this and lots of other locations, we visit the site of the meter maid scene from Zombieland. The Big Zombie Tour 2 features locations mostly from season 3, including Woodbury, the Sportsman’s Deer Cooler and the Zombie Arena. On both tours, the guides have all been “walkers” on the show and we have lots of fun trivia games and prizes along the way.
SL: Do you have any other tours planned?
Patti: Yes. We’re partnering with the Hunger Games unofficial fan tours up in Brevard, North Carolina. They do a tour right now of District 12, where they filmed Hunger Games. They do a weekend experience where you become the tribute and we just did that a couple of weeks ago – it was really fun! You learn archery, camouflage and cake decorating like Peeta – it was just a blast. So, we partnered with them and we’re going to bring it all to Atlanta for all of the Atlanta sites, so there will be a day tour and a weekend experience for Catching Fire. We’re so excited about it!
SL: Have you had any celebrity encounters in Atlanta?
Patti: We were at an Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau meet and greet at Club 755 at the Braves Stadium at Turner Field and a friend of mine who owns a local restaurant called me and said that Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead was in the restaurant. We were so excited – fortunately, we were all dressed up – so we ran over there and when Norman walked outside, he was gracious enough to take a picture with us. He could not have been nicer. (On the tour the day of the interview) we saw Peter Thomas, who is Cynthia Thomas‘ husband from The Real Housewives of Atlanta. A recent tour saw Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. filming Let’s Be Cops – they got to see the whole set when they were filming – it was really exciting. It’s rare to see it on a weekend, but it was a Saturday when they saw it – and we love when that happens!
Summer’s not over yet! If you’re in Atlanta, make sure to make Atlanta Movie Tours one of your “must-see” destinations! Check them out and book your zombie adventure at AtlantaMovieTours.com!