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Saturday, 10 December 2011

Local sites show up in new 'Footloose' movie

Study acting, wait tables between auditions, spend money on head shots — that’s one path to breaking into the movies.

Photo courtesy of Randy Burnett Sue Burnett of Peachtree City poses with her husband's 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge, featured in the "Footloose" remake. 
Christopher Quinn, Christopher Quinn Acworth Presbyterian Church was the setting for some crucial scenes, including Ren and Ariel's first meeting and a father-daughter showdown. 
2003 Staff photo The now-closed Cowboys served as the spot where the film's teenagers cut loose and enjoyed a night out.

And then there’s the method used by the Burnetts of Peachtree City: Own a totally “cherry” 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge that’s featured in the new “Footloose” remake. It’s the same car seen in a publicity shot where star Julianne Hough rests her own short-clad jeans, er, bumper against the front grill.

“Julianne’s fingerprints are still on the hood!” Sue Burnett joked in an email where she sent a photo of herself striking a more PG version of the pose.

Filmed entirely in and around metro Atlanta, “Footloose” opened last Friday and earned about $16 million in its first weekend of release — twice as much as another ’80s remake, “The Thing.” While you might not happen to spy Delta pilot Randy Burnett driving his GTO around town, you can plan to check out these other real-life sites with “roles” in the film:

Now starring:

New Senoia Raceway, 171 Brown Road, Senoia. 770-599-6161,

In the role of: A racetrack where engines race, tempers flare and much melodramatic expositive dialogue is thrown about. It’s where we meet Ariel’s nasty boyfriend, a driver who smacks both her and Ren around at various points in the movie. It’s also the setting for a so weird-it’s-wacky monster bus race where Boston-born Ren proves he’s as tough and tough drivin’ as any Southern bad ol’ boy.

In real life: The self-described “Fastest 3/8th mile dirt oval in Georgia,” the track on Ga. 16 hosts racing by late models, B-Cadets, hobby and mini stock cars every Saturday night from April to September. Plus, family events and entertainment.

Bonus shot: If you weren’t among the thousands of locals who were extras in a race crowd scene — or if you were, and want to return to the scene — the New Senoia Raceway Champions Awards Banquet is at 3 p.m. Saturday. Gates open at 2 p.m.

? Now starring:

Starlight Six Drive-In Theatre, 2000 Moreland Ave., S.E., Atlanta. 404-627-5786,

In the role of: What else? A drive-in. But not just any drive-in, it’s where the teens in the movie’s fictional Bomont, Ga., can be found getting their dance on outside at night — despite the ban on boogeying. In one key development, the good reverend unexpectedly shows up in the snack bar area and catches a glimpse of Ariel getting her groove on. All you-know-what ensues.

In real life: In business since 1949, the Starlight is still a fully operational drive-in. Currently showing double features on four screens, the cost is $7 for adults and $1 for kids ages 3-9.

Bonus shot: Right now on Screen No. 4, you can catch “Footloose” in the place where “Footloose” was filmed. Just watch out for the Rev. Shaw Moore before you “cut loose!”

? Now starring:

Acworth Presbyterian Church, 4561 Church St., Acworth. 770-974-6551, www.acworthpresbyterian?

In the role of: The church of the Rev. Moore (Dennis Quaid), the minister/city councilman who pushes for the teen dancing ban. It’s where his wild child daughter Ariel (Hough) and new boy in town Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) first meet; later father and daughter have a dramatic showdown there.

In real life: Founded shortly after the Civil War, APC celebrates its 140th anniversary this year. Sunday service is at 11 a.m., preceded by Sunday school at?9:45 a.m.

Bonus shot: The house where Quaid’s character lives is on Northside Drive in Acworth, very close to the church. Its usual occupants, Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood and his wife, Carol, relocated elsewhere during the 18 days that shooting took place at the 110-year-old house. When they first knocked on his door, location scouts had no idea that Allegood, like Quaid’s character, was a politico. “They were staircase hunting — you open the door and look right at ours’” said His Honor, whose wife was an extra in the first church scene. “Now we have the ‘Footloose’ House.”

? Now starring:

Cowboys, 1750 N. Roberts Road, Kennesaw.

In the role of: The big city dance club that Ren, Ariel, Willard (Miles Teller) and Rusty (Jonesboro resident Ziah Colon) revel at one night like former teetotalers suddenly set loose in Vegas. The crowd mostly wears boots and jeans.

In real life: Cowboys, which used to bill itself as the “biggest party outside the Perimeter,” is closed. But an experienced club operator out of Dallas has signed a lease for the space and plans to open another music/dance club there by December, according to the city of Kennesaw’s development department.

Bonus shot: The movie’s young protagonists have about a two-hour drive from the fictional Bomont to reach the club. As they approach, they’re awed. You, too, can have the same feeling by driving along the Downtown Connector. Just not at rush hour.

Now starring:

Bostwick Cotton Gin, Ga. 83, Bostwick

In the role of: The cotton gin where Ren gets a part-time job and that’s the setting for the climactic prom scene. And the fist fight with a group of toughs led by Ariel’s ex that precedes it.

In real life: The still- operational cotton gin is a centerpiece of the 360-population town of Bostwick, in northern Morgan County. The film’s production crew also turned a former cotton field into a “mini-city” for its trucks and trailers, said Angie Howard, a city councilor, and shot a field scene on Mayor John Bostwick’s farm (his great-grandfather built the town).

Bonus shot: Want to see where it all happened? Including the fist fight? Tours of the cotton gin are available during the 22nd annual Cotton Gin Festival in Bostwick on Nov. 5. There’s also a fun run, arts and crafts festival and — with some 200 vehicles — the biggest tractor parade in the state.

? Now starring:

R.L. Osborne High School, 2451 Favor Road, Marietta. 770-437-5900,

In the role of: Bomont High, home of the Fighting Panthers and the place where Ren meets his new best bud, the cowboy- hatted, two-left-footed Willard. Important scenes here have Ren defending himself against a totally baseless drug charge and Willard declaring his lifelong allegiance to the Georgia Bulldogs.

In real life: Cobb County’s oldest high school, home of the Cardinals. With an enrollment of about 1,600 students, it posted the district’s largest year-to-year gain in SAT scores for the class of 2011.

Bonus shot: Four framed handprints of crew members are at the school now.

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