Lately there’s been plenty of hubbub in Atlanta related to the amount of filming taking place around town. Print media and the evening news are doing their part to cover the buzz surrounding Atlanta’s Hollywood aspirations, while the social media universe is awash in J.Lo and Betty White sightings. But this isn’t the first time Atlanta’s graced the silver screen. Let’s take a look at some notable homes that were either set or filmed in our beautiful city during the past 70+ years.
Gone with the Wind – 1939
We start with what’s probably the movie most associated with Atlanta, Gone with the Wind. Not that any of it was filmed here. The Peachtree Street mansion that Rhett built for Scarlett may have had a number of real life influences, as explored on the GWTW Scrapbook blog. When it came time to depict the manse for filming, set designers employed the 1930s version of CGI: a painted screen.
Matlock – 1986-1995
The legal TV series that was near and dear to my grandmother’s heart (who doesn’t have a crush on Andy Griffith?) was set in Atlanta. His home on the show, however, was nowhere near here. There were a couple of buildings that stood in for his residence through the years. The house with the gambrel roof is actually on a stage set and can be seen today in “Desperate Housewives.” The other house, which is more classically Southern, is an actual home in Wilmington, N.C..
Designing Women – 1986-1993
Designing Women was another show from the 80’s set in Atlanta. Come to think of it, why were we featured on TV so much back then? I’m thinking a Law and Order: Atlanta is in order! Anyway, the striking Second Empire home that supposedly housed the interior design firm of Suzanne and Julia Sugarbaker was not located in Inman Park, but rather in Arkansas. It’s a little disappointing given the beautiful selection of Victorians in Atlanta’s oldest intown neighborhoods that could have been used, but I hear the producer had Arkansas roots.
Driving Miss Daisy – 1989
Finally, a movie set in Atlanta and filmed in Atlanta. And yes, we’re still discussing the 1980s. This stately brick Tudor at 822 Lullwater Road in Druid Hills stood in for Miss Daisy’s house.
Diary of a Mad Black Woman – 2005
The humongous mansion seen in “Diary” was actually the personal home of Tyler Perry. 17,000 square feet sounds like a lot of room for one man, but it’s useful when it can double as a stage set, I suppose. Perry’s since moved on to pricier real estate, with his $7.6M purchase of Dean Gardens. Perry didn’t drop that amount of dough for the house though; it’s being demolished and replaced. Perhaps the new version will be coming soon to a theater near you.
Zombieland – 2009
The unmissable West Paces Ferry estate that featured prominently in Zombieland was the subject of a past blog post. It made a very fitting stand in for a Hollywood home. Although it’s hard to comprehend, the interiors of the home are even more lavish than what you see on the outside. Anything that could be gilded, carved, or otherwise adorned has been. Unfortunately, all that detail hasn’t yet seduced a buyer. The home is still for sale.
The Blind Side – 2009
We end our tour with another Buckhead mansion, this one posing as the home of Sandra Bullock’s character in the Blind Side. The French styled residence is set in Memphis, which is the hometown of the real life family that the movie was based upon. In fact, even the home’s decor was made to reflect that of the actual matriarch Bullock portrayed. Who says you can’t believe what you see at the movies?