Clayton hungry for ‘Hunger Games’ sequel

Scenes from movie will be shot at International Park

File photo
Clayton County International Park will soon become a large set for scenes from the "Hunger Games" sequel "Catching Fire." Film crews are expected to shoot scenes at the park this fall.

File photo Clayton County International Park will soon become a large set for scenes from the "Hunger Games" sequel "Catching Fire." Film crews are expected to shoot scenes at the park this fall.

JONESBORO — The Clayton County Board of Commissioners unanimously gave producers of the “Hunger Games” sequel, “Catching Fire,” the green light Tuesday to film some scenes from at Clayton County International Park this fall.

A location agreement between the county and Project GGX Productions, Inc. states the movie to be filmed is called “The Idiom.” Project GGX is the production company making the movie. However, a report on the casting website, acting-auditions.org, states “The Idiom” is just a working title for “Catching Fire.” Filming is reportedly already underway in the Atlanta area and some scenes will also be filmed in Hawaii.

When asked about it, Clayton County Economic Development Director Grant Wainscott refused to say whether “Catching Fire” would be filmed at the park. He also refused to tell Clayton News Daily even the genre of the movie to be filmed.

“The production company of ‘Catching Fire,’ GGX Productions, filed corporation papers with the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State in April,” an acting-auditions.org report states. “The second film in a super-popular trilogy, ‘The Idiom,’ is now in pre-production and casting is officially underway in Los Angeles for new co-starring and supporting roles.

“The day players, extras, photo doubles, and stand-ins will be hired in the Atlanta area, where shooting [will] take place.”

The agreement allows the production company to begin entering the park — beginning this week — to prepare it for filming. The agreement shows the production company will be filming scenes in the park several times throughout late October and November.

That schedule will likely limit residents’ access to some of the park and facilities located inside of it, including the J. Charley Griswell Senior Center, the Clayton County Tennis Complex and Muscle Beach gym.

The county will be paid $80,000 to allow “Catching Fire” scenes to be filmed in the park, according to the agreement. Project GGX will also employ off-duty police to provide security, and it will pay the officers $45 per hour for their time. The agreement calls on the production company to pay the county $75 per hour to have a Clayton County Water Authority employee drain and re-fill one of the lakes in the park.

Commissioner Michael Edmondson raised questions about how the annual Lake Spivey Road Race, which will take place Nov. 3 at and around International Park, will be impacted by the filming. Part of the road race festivities includes a cookout the night before the race.

“The barbecue that Friday night will be at the same location, just a little bit back from the pavilion, but with water lines and electricity provided by GGX,” said Edmondson.

Wainscott told Edmondson the cookout will have to be moved. He added, however, Project GGX Productions has agreed to cover the costs of relocating the cookout.

“The offer is to help relocate it to someplace that’s convenient for the barbecue and doesn’t interfere with the flow of the production,” Wainscott said. “There’s several locations where it could happen. It’s more a function of long-distance water lines and a water truck vs. tapping into hydrant.”

“Catching Fire” is an adaptation of the second book in the “Hunger Games” trilogy, written by Suzanne Collins. The books feature a futuristic, dystopian society where children are chosen by lottery to fight each other to the death.

The screenplay adaptation of “Catching Fire” was written by Simon Beaufoy, who has written the screen plays for several films including “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day” and “The Full Monty,” according to the Internet Movie Database website.

The website also shows the movie stars Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, Tony Shalhoub and Lenny Kravitz. It is being directed by Francis Lawrence, who previously directed “Water for Elephants,” “I Am Legend” and “Constantine.”

“Catching Fire” will be released in theaters on Nov. 22, 2013, according to acting-auditions.org. The first film in the franchise, “The Hunger Games” was released earlier this year and earned a worldwide total of $685 million at the box office, according to boxofficemojo.com/.

This is not the first time scenes from a movie have been filmed at International Park, which first gained international attention when it hosted Olympic beach volleyball during the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Scenes from the 2008 Tyler Perry film, “The Family That Preys,” were also shot at the park.

“Catching Fire” is also the latest in a growing number of films shot in Clayton County. “Scary Movie 5” is preparing to film scenes on a temporary soundstage at the old Ingles grocery store in Lake City this fall. In recent years, scenes from “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” “Joyful Noise,” “Zombieland” and “Footloose” have been filmed in the county.

Clayton’s film history goes back even further than those recent films, however. More than 30 years ago, several scenes from “Smokey and the Bandit” were shot in and around Jonesboro.