Our Town: Brookhaven at East Cobb Retirement community residents are stars for a day

There are no outdoor card tables or shuffleboard courts at Brookhaven at East Cobb, an active adult community off Chastain Road. But when the movie “The Internship” comes out in the spring, residents of the Cobb County community will know it’s their neighborhood in the spotlight.

Two months ago, the 94-home neighborhood, still under construction, stood in for a fictitious California retirement home that plays a part in the film featuring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. The two Hollywood headliners star as out-of-work middle-agers looking to land internships at Google. Residents received advance notice of the project and were also invited to apply for positions as set extras.

“We were asked to send in three photos and information on our height and weight,” said Rich MacGeorge, who has lived at Brookhaven for more than a year. “Three of us got picked. I thought it was really nice that they decided to use people in the community.”

MacGeorge and neighbors Walt Griffith and Bob Brod were hired to work along a crowd of extras brought in for the single day shoot that started at 6 a.m. and wrapped 14 hours later.

“I was glad I got to do it, but it was the hardest day I ever had - and I thought teaching school was hard,” said Griffith, who recently retired from Wheeler High School. “It was really interesting to watch. I was front and center when the stars came in, and I almost reached out to shake Wilson’s hand. And it was hard not to look at them or the camera.”

For MacGeorge, the biggest challenge was keeping completely quiet while the cameras were rolling.

“That was the hardest part because we weren’t supposed to make any noise, but we still had to look like we were having a conversation,” he said. “And I never realized it took so long to do. On that one day, they filmed just four pages of script, and they did it over and over and over.”

The location crew gussied up the community’s entrance, replaced the Brookhaven sign and hauled in enormous spotlights to make the rainy filming day appear sunny. One of the giant light cranes was parked in Brod’s driveway.

“That’s how I first heard they were looking for extras,” Brod said. “The guy who came with the release for me to sign told me about it. When I told him I didn’t have any pictures, he took my photo with his iPhone and sent it to me so I could send it in. The day after I did, they called and asked me to do it. It turned out to be a great experience, with great food, great people and lots of laughs.”

After the long day, the three extras were asked if they’d consider being extras on the “Hunger Games,” another movie filming around town. But none of them are in a hurry to sign on for another gig, even if even their debuts wind up on the cutting room floor.

“I think we got picked for this one - in a retirement home - because we fit right in,” said MacGeorge with a laugh. “But I’m done; I got my thrills by being in one.”

Each Saturday, we shine a spotlight on a local neighborhood, city or community. To suggest a place for us to visit, e-mail H.M. Cauley at hm_cauley@yahoo.com or call 404-514-6162.

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