“The Best of Enemies” tells the story of desegregation in 1971 Durham, North Carolina.
When the filmmakers were looking for the right architecture and scenery, however, Durham didn’t fit the bill. Instead, they turned to small-town Georgia to shoot the film, which hit theaters April 5.
Yes, the staged protest outside the Macon-Bibb Government Center in June 2017 was for scene set in the 1970s for the movie. Filming shut down streets in downtown Macon for a couple of days.
“It’s not as unusual for a project that may be set in one place to film in another,” Guy Gaster, director of FilmNC, North Carolina’s film commission, told WRAL.com.
In fact, the movie “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” was filmed in North Carolina.
Durham Mayor Steve Schewel told the 9th Street Journal that the shooting location of the film is less important than the story it will tell.
“I knew Ann Atwater and Claybourn Ellis and had personal relationships which each of them. And I’m very excited that they’re going to be celebrated,” he told the Journal.
That diner where Atwater (played by Taraji P. Henson) and Ellis (played by Sam Rockwell) sit across the table from each other? That’s a real place. It’s Ross’ Diner, located at 17 North Wall St. in downtown Cartersville.
The diner isn’t the only Cartersville spot featured in the movie, however. The Bartow County Courthouse, at 135 W. Cherokee Ave., also serves as a backdrop for scenes in the film.
With their proximity to Atlanta, the “series of small neighborhoods” around the city make them good places to shoot, Astute Films’ Harrison Powell told the Atlanta Film Chat podcast.
Macon isn’t new to the movie seen. A month before filming at the government center, Dwayne Johnson was at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport to shoot “Rampage,” based on the 1980s arcade game in which monsters try to destroy cities.
Georgia’s sizable tax credits have made it prime real estate for movies and television shows. In 2017, the Hollywood of the South raked in the most top-grossing films in the country, according to Film L.A.’s fifth annual feature film study.
But the area doesn’t always pretend to be something else. Sometimes, Atlanta is Atlanta, like in “The Walking Dead” and “Baby Driver.”
WATCH: The AJC’s Rodney Ho talks “The Best of Enemies” with Taraji P. Henson
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