This is the White House set on Tyler Perry Studios  that was built over the summer of 2019. The studio is hosting the Democratic presidential debate Nov. 20.
Photo: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com
Photo: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Architectural Digest took a tour of Tyler Perry’s 330-acre studios

The magazine published its article on the tour Nov. 7

Like the rest of the world, editors at Architectural Digest clamored at the chance to get an exclusive, comprehensive look at the state-of-the-art soundstages and the intricate backlot sets at Tyler Perry’s heralded studios at Fort McPherson.

»RELATED: Things to know about Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta

Earlier this month, the design magazine published a photo story “Step onto Tyler Perry’s 300-Acre Production Studio.” In it, writer Catherine Hong reveals some of the most fascinating features at the studios, which are reportedly more expansive than Warner Bros., Disney and Paramount combined.

The article reveals some of the most interesting details and stories behind Perry’s iconic filming mecca.

The story behind Tyler Perry’s White House 

Perry told AD that his four visits to the White House inspired the three-story, stucco replica that sits on his soundstages as a part of the set for the BET show “The Oval.” The entire faux residence, which is about 80% to scale of the real one, is entirely functional. 

“We built it in about 12 weeks!” Perry revealed.

Filmmaker Tyler Perry poses at his $250 million Tyler Perry Studios in southwest Atlanta.
Photo: Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com

The White House is only the beginning at Tyler Perry Studios

The writer, producer and actor’s expansive studio property, which replaces a former Confederate Army base, features 12 state-of-the-art soundstages, each named after an African American trailblazer in the entertainment industry. Cicely Tyson, Will Smith and the late Diahann Carroll have stages named after them.

»MORE: The presidential debate is coming to Atlanta, here’s how to watch

AD noted that outside of the historic soundstages and the White House replica, the studios’ variety of sets, green spaces and historic relevance make the grounds legendary. There’s everything from a trailer park to a bank and suburban homes ready for filming. In fact, several seasons of “The Walking Dead” have been filmed there. Paul Wonsek, one of Perry’s go-to production designers, helped work on most of the studio’s properties.

Wonsek told the magazine that in his eight years of working with Perry, he’s found just how significant production and architecture is to him.

“Tyler builds real architectural structures for shooting. Nobody else works this way,” Wonsek said.

»RELATED: 10 things to know about the Democratic debate at Tyler Perry Studios Wednesday

And Perry told the mag he’s not done yet.

“I’m looking into creating a six-lane highway,” he told AD, adding he might also build out a European-style city. “You know, something with winding cobblestone streets? We could use it for Paris.”

Other fun facts about Tyler Perry Studios property:

  • Perry purchased the former military base in 2015
  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt used to stay there when visiting the base
  • 40 of the buildings on the grounds are on the National Register of Historic Places
  • As a child, Perry began sketching out floor plans. He would charge $10 to $20 for the drawings

See the video from Architectural Digest’s tour below:

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