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Barrymore, Sandler hit South Hall to film romantic comedy

'Blended' production company spent thousands fixing up subdivision’s ballfield

POSTED: July 29, 2013 11:48 p.m.

The Four Seasons on Lanier subdivision in Flowery Branch is getting the Hollywood treatment this week.

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore began filming Monday at the lakeside neighborhood for their upcoming comedy “Blended.”

Fans of the two actors were camped out at the location since the early morning in hopes of getting a glimpse of the two stars. Sandler greeted the small crowd when he arrived on set around 11 a.m.

“Adam Sandler was really cool and signed an autograph for me,” said Auston Childers, who was in the crowd. “He said he loved the area.” Barrymore was also on site.

The movie is about two single parents who, after a bad blind date, find themselves together at a family resort where their attraction grows.

The filming has taken over the neighborhood’s recreational area, with a tent put up to house actors in between shots.

The production company also spent an estimated $40,000 on the ballfield, which will be maintained by the neighborhood after filming is over, said homeowner association Treasurer Jeff Ace.

“They’ve been knocking us out to keep us happy,” Ace said. “In the short term, it is a lot of excitement in our neighborhood, but in the long term, it is a huge benefit that could make our neighborhood more attractive.”

The company cleared weeds from the field, enhanced the existing grass and resodded bare patches, put up fencing, planted trees and built a new backstop and announcer’s booth. A flag pole was also installed in the picnic pavilion because Sandler likes to have American flags on display in his movies, Ace said.

“If it brings money into our community, that’s awesome,” resident Matt Williams said. “The field was a little dilapidated before, and now it looks great.”

The movie is being produced by Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions, Gulfstream Pictures and Warner Bros. It will be filmed primarily in the Lake Lanier area, with a few scenes filmed in South Africa.

Other scenes have been shot at Lake Lanier Islands Resort, Dick’s Sporting Goods at the Mall of Georgia and some area homes. The filming at Four Seasons on Lanier is scheduled to wrap Friday.

“Blended” is one of several television and movie productions that have been attracted to Georgia because of the 2008 Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act, which provides up to a 30 percent tax credit to major producers of film, television and digital entertainment.

“We never would have a major motion picture here without that investment by the state,” said Stacey Dickson, president of the Lake Lanier Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“The state is forfeiting part of that sales tax, but the production companies are bringing a lot of money into the area.”

To further help production companies film in the state, the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office started the Camera Ready program, which trains county-specific liaisons to help streamline the filming process in their areas.

Dickson is Hall County’s liaison and helps film companies who wish to film in the area find the right locations, obtain any necessary permits, find lodging for employees and handle other logistics.

While unable to talk about the specifics, Dickson said the production company plans to have a total of 50 days of filming in Georgia.

“Blended” is expected to be released in theaters in May 2014.


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