By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Movie shoots at Mary Alice
Park doubles for Cape Cod
Movie set
A movie crew works on the set at Mary Alice Park. - photo by For the Forsyth County News
Lake Lanier and Mary Alice Park were bathed in sunlight. A light spring breeze rustled the trees.

On the white sand beach, however, a crowd of hundreds danced on the patio of a tiki bar and two Hollywood stars rehearsed on the back porch of a gray, wood-shingled home.

For about 50 days, the filming of “Hall Pass,” a movie directed by the Farrelly brothers, has made its way around sites in metro Atlanta.

The production landed Wednesday and Thursday at the Cumming park, which had been transformed to resemble the shores of Cape Cod.

The movie’s cast includes Christina Applegate, Jenna Fischer, Jason Sudeikis and Owen Wilson, all of whom made appearances at Mary Alice.

In the comedy, Applegate plays Wilson’s wife, who gives him permission to have an extramarital affair.

Earlier this year, production staff approached the city with a proposal to lease the park for a month before it opened for the season.

Adam McCarthy, production supervisor, said that staff scouted about 50 to 100 spots on Lake Lanier.

Location manager Maida Morgan said the crew hoped for a house with a Cape Cod look, but realized that was “too regional” to find in Georgia.

Instead, staff set up April 1 to begin construction of the house and tiki bar. White sand was trucked in.

“This turned out to be a great find because it is very remote, but also very accessible,” Morgan said.

The location allowed easy access for the crew, but not much room for others to sneak in and take a look by car or boat, particularly since authorities patrolled the waters offshore.

Dave Horton, director of the Cumming Fairgrounds, said several crew members told him Mary Alice was their favorite shooting spot.

“It’s just a pretty location,” he said. “They were very pleased with the way it was set up.”

Horton said the site’s privacy and space to park more than 200 vehicles and keep all the film equipment isn’t always possible at other shooting locales.

“It’s pretty amazing to see the number of people that it takes to get those scenes,” he said. “But when they say ‘rolling,’ it goes silent. You could hear a pin drop in there.”

That many people descending on the park also means revenue for the local economy, he said.

Transportation captain Bob Brubaker said the movie has had a “tremendous” effect.

“The Wal-Mart up here,” he said. “We’ve already made an impact there.”

As Hollywood brings in the cameras, jobs for locals come with them.

About 90 percent of the “Hall Pass” crew lives in Georgia, McCarthy said.

Brubaker, who calls Forsyth County home, is among them.

He said he usually has to travel far to the sets, but got lucky with this shoot.

Brubaker said more movies have been hitting the metro area, a trend he expects to continue thanks to a film tax credit offered in Georgia.

According to a recent state news release, filming in the state has increased more than 400 percent since the credit was first offered in 2008. Georgia was the top spot in the Southeast for filming in 2009, and fifth nationally.

“They want to stay here and do more,” Brubaker said. “And that’s what we need.”

The movie has also filmed at an Applebee’s in Johns Creek and the Days Inn in Gainesville.

On the Cumming set, the tiki bar and house will come down this week, with the materials being donated to Habitat for Humanity, McCarthy said.

“When we leave, you won’t see it,” he said. “It’s amazing how clean the industry is.”

And the film crew will leave behind fresh white sand on Mary Alice’s beach, something Horton said the park needed but the budget had not been able to accommodate.

“It’s been pretty amazing what they’ve gotten done in a short period of time,” he said.