By Joel Hall
For two nights in Morrow, traffic on Ga. Highway 54 will be rerouted to make room for the production of a zombie movie.
Tonight and Thursday, from 8 p.m., to 6 a.m., both nights, traffic on the major highway will be diverted to make way for the filming of "Zombieland," an action-comedy thriller starring Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, and Jesse Eisenberg. Traffic between Adamson Parkway and Morrow Road will be diverted to Lake Harbin Road via Lee Street.
Mike Twomey, president and executive director of the Morrow Business and Tourism Association, said he expects the traffic flow to be somewhat normal, as motorists traveling northbound on Jonesboro Road will continue to have access to Interstate 75.
"It's not going to be that much of a traffic impact," said Twomey. "It's well after rush hour. After 8 p.m., there isn't a lot that goes on there."
Twomey said local law enforcement agencies will be handling traffic diversion.
Norm Bielowicz, assistant location manager for Zombieland Pictures, a production company financed by Sony Pictures to make the film, said the movie has been shot exclusively in Georgia for several weeks. He said the crew has spent time filming in Atlanta, Decatur, and Valdosta, and that after the Morrow scenes, the crew plans to film in Newnan, Hampton, Powder Springs, and Mansfield.
"It's kind of a comedy-action movie," said Bielowicz. "We have four heroes and the entire world has been taken over by zombies because of a virus, except the four heroes who go on a cross-country trek to an amusement park."
This week in Morrow, the crew will film scenes in a Citgo gas station off Ga. 54, as well as a car crash in front of the old George Starvo Insurance Company Building on Morrow Road. Bielowicz said the insurance building has been transformed into a flower shop for the film.
"We're going to have a car accident there," said Bielowicz. "We're actually going to have a zombie that is on top of the car fly through the window of the store."
He said Eisenberg, one of the film's stars, would be on the set of the film today and Thursday.
Morrow City Manager John Lampl said he believes having the filming take place in Morrow will attract business to the city.
"We thought it would be fun and entertaining, and it is good for business at the same time," said Lampl. "They are shooting at a couple of locations in Georgia, so we want to facilitate as much as we can. Hopefully they'll have fun, enjoy it, and create a few business opportunities."
Bielowicz said the city of Morrow and the state of Georgia have been "unbelievably helpful" to the production. He said he expects the movie to be released in early 2010.
"The business owners have been very good," he said. "I know what we're doing is difficult at best, but people have been more than willing to help us out. Most people, when we tell them what we're doing they just laugh. We hope what we'll be able to come out with is a movie that is real fun for everybody."