People gathered early from all over the Gainesville area to get a look at the movie set of “The Familymoon,” which has been shot this week on Green Street Circle.
The film, featuring Adam Sandler who is also producing the movie, has brought stars such as Drew Barrymore and Shaquille O’Neal to Georgia. Some residents waited long enough to be able to meet Sandler as he drove by to go to work.
All of the excitement surrounding the location has altered the daily lives of many residents. While cars line up and down both Green Street Circle and Piedmont Avenue, neighbors said they have learned to work around the security officers and equipment used for the filming, part of which ended Tuesday night.
Marley Rochester, a resident on Green Street Circle, experienced all the action firsthand. Since props were being set up virtually in her front yard, she knew when the filming began and ended, as well as all the crowds and cars that came with it.
She said despite being so close to the action, she hadn’t met anyone in the cast yet, but because her house was so close, she said she felt sure she would be able to talk to Sandler.
“I’ll probably meet him today, considering they’re doing all this at my house,” Rochester said Tuesday. She said the filming has changed daily life, but it makes things interesting.
“It’s fun. It’s nice to see,” Rochester said. “But at the same time, it’s kind of different.”
She said she can now predict about what time the cast and crew will start working and when they will finish.
“They start at about 8 a.m. and they go 8 to 14 hours usually, depending on what they just get done,” she said.
Some residents have especially enjoyed having a movie star like Sandler film a movie so close to their homes.
Nancy Anne Halphin, whose Green Street Circle house sits next to the filming location, was doing physical therapy with her caretaker when she met Sandler.
She said the highlight of the experience was when Sandler called her “beautiful,” and she was able to show off the progress she had made in her therapy, with Sandler’s assistance, and stood up for a brief moment.
Halphin also commented on the changes to everyday life, saying everyone on location was friendly, but things are definitely different in the neighborhood.
“It’s a little hectic at times, but you have to expect it to be because they’ve got to get their stuff in,” Halphin said, while the cast filmed next door on Tuesday evening.
“The biggest thing has been they have to have so much room, our mailbox gets blocked a lot,” she said. “But other than that, they’ve been very nice.”
One neighbor got even closer to Sandler than most have been able to.
Frances Martin, who lives on Green Street Circle in the center of all the action on location, was able to celebrate her birthday while the cast and crew were present. Her family decided to try to make her 87th birthday extra special.
“We got together and decided since her birthday would be Aug. 6 and they started filming on Aug. 5, that would be a good surprise for her,” said Jean Elliot, Martin’s daughter.
Although Martin did not have much prior knowledge of Sandler or Barrymore, she quickly grew to enjoy their work.
“We’ve been showing her pictures and movies of who the people were that were coming to make the movie,” Elliot said.
Ever since the arrival of the production company, Martin has treated the workers on location no differently than regular, everyday people, with the same kindness she shows everyone, Elliot said.
“Before the cast came, my mom was always giving the crew water and asking if they needed anything to drink or if they needed to cool off,” she said.
“They got to where they would just sit on the porch with her and talk to her.”
When the cast came in with their giant cake, which read, “Happy Birthday from the Cast and Crew of Blended (the previous working title of the film),” tears of joy and surprise came to Martin’s eyes, Elliot said.
“The people were so nice,” she said. “My mom started crying.”
This gave the best impression on Martin and her family, Elliot said.
“These people are just so super nice,” she said. “I don’t know about anyone else, but they made my mom’s birthday.”
Although the filming is leaving the area for good, one more chance will be available to see a movie in the making today. However, it will be from a distance.
Police officers are set to begin blocking off all entry to Riverside Drive, where a driving scene will be filmed all day, starting at about 7 a.m. and ending when the filming is finished.
“As far as I know, it’s a rolling roadblock,” said Cpl. Joe Britte of the Gainesville Police Department.
The production company has requested and secured a police presence.
“It’s a scene with the officers and we’ll have traffic officers handling the traffic detail,” he said.
After today, all filming for the movie will conclude.