Production workers mill about in the Scary Movie 5 base camp outside the old Ingles grocery store in Lake City last fall. Actor Charlie Sheen's trailer is shown at left. The film, which opened this weekend, was the first production to use the facility in its new role as a soundstage.
LAKE CITY Clayton County’s new movie sound stage in Lake City will make its big screen debut this weekend but audiences won’t recognize it as a former grocery store.
Instead, it will look like Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan’s bedroom.
Production crews transformed the old Ingles on Jonesboro Road into a temporary set for the filming of scenes featuring the two stars for Scary Movie 5 last fall. The movie, which opened Friday, marked the first time the old grocery store had been used in its new role as a movie sound stage.
“It’s going to be fantastic,” said Grant Wainscott, Clayton County’s director of economic development. “The whole purpose of converting that building into a sound stage was to give the film industry a mechanism to spend more time and resources in Clayton County. It’s going to be great to see the first end product on the big screen.”
The old grocery store was originally bought by the county with 2004 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds to be transformed into a recreation center, but those plans stalled. The county’s economic development department — which includes a film office — then began making a push to get the county to reimburse the SPLOST fund with money from its general fund so the property could be used for films instead.
County commissioners approved that plan while the Scary Movie scenes were being filmed.
While the movie gives Clayton County some big screen bragging rights, Wainscott said the real value in having the scenes filmed in Lake City was the impact on businesses immediately around the old grocery store. Although filming lasted only a week, production crews spent three months at the facility with much of the time spent building sets and getting the building ready to be used as a sound stage.
“We talked to the set caterer and asked him where he was getting all of the food he was providing the cast and the crew and he said it came from the Kroger that’s located across the street,” Wainscott said. “I don’t know if Kroger knew who was buying all of the food, but he said they spent thousands of dollars there.
“The production crew was also buying all of their office supplies at the Walgreens that’s right there on the corner [of Jonesboro Road and Huie Road] and I know they bought some pizzas from the Pizza Hut that is right there as well.”
There wasn’t much star watching going on even though two of Hollywood’s most notorious celebrities were in the building for filming, and film office staff were regularly on site to make sure there were no problems with the building.
Wainscott said his staff tries to be as unobtrusive and as confidential as possible when production companies are filming in the county. He and Locations Manager Tamara Patridge main restrict their set visits to making sure all of the crews needs are met, he explained.
Even when Scary Movie was being filmed in Lake City, Wainscott and his staff wouldn’t confirm it although casting calls and documents listing the project’s working title pieced the puzzle together.
“Privacy is really important to them and we try our best to honor that,” he said.
Since Scary Movie, the film office has gotten several inquiries about using the old Ingles as a sound stage.
The county was on the verge of signing a lease with Paramount Pictures this week to use the space for four months as a sound stage for a movie called “Cinema One.” Wainscott said the company backed out at the last minute however when it found a different location that was closer to where it was shooting other scenes for that film.
He said other projects should be lining up soon — although he said he can’t identify them because of confidentiality reasons.
All he would promise is, “we’ll have some other projects in the future.”