Nothing revives a city's historic attractions like starring in one of the most anticipated movies of the year. And the benefits are likely to continue with filming for the third installment already underway in Atlanta.
Emily Inman, meet Katniss Everdeen.
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” which hits theaters on Nov. 22, was filmed largely in Atlanta, and no location looks more splendid on screen than the Swan House, built for prominent Atlantans Emily and Edward Inman in 1928.
The Philip T. Shutze-designed masterpiece located on the grounds of the Atlanta History Center served as the site for spectacular party scenes showcasing the exterior of the house, whose original residents were active in social clubs here and in New York and Palm Beach. You’ll also be able to spot details such as the iconic swans in the dining room in scenes featuring the nefarious President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and scheming Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman).
“This house was designed for entertaining,” said Swan House manager Jessica VanLanduyt. “The dining room is the largest room in the house. I think they would be thrilled that people wanted to come here and party.”
Emily Inman, who survived her husband and lived in the home until her death in 1965, would have taken a shine to the bold and brave Everdeen, VanLanduyt said.
“Katniss and Mrs. Inman would have gotten along great,” she said. “Mrs. Inman was a very strong woman. Her mother was a major suffragist.”
She had great flair, too. The Atlanta Journal wrote in 1967 that “if every house had its own personality, Swan House derives its character today from two very striking sources. The first is the sheer exhilaration of Mr. Shutze’s architectural design. The second is thoughtful taste and attention which Mrs. Inman devoted to the home.”
Eager to tap into fans’ appetite for all things “Hunger Games,” the Swan House has announced special “Capitol Tours,” which will highlight areas featured in the movie.
“We love the house and we want everyone to feel part of the experience,” VanLanduyt said.
Before, during and immediately after the filming last year, History Center staff members were bound by studio confidentiality agreements not to discuss the blockbuster. Word promptly leaked out, of course. During the summer’s Dragon Con science-fiction, fantasy and comic event, the center found itself hosting costumed conventioneers eager to walk in Jennifer Lawrence’s footsteps. A few devotees have even sent fan letters to her there.
“That was a new one for me, working at a history museum,” said Brandi Wigley, director of tourism and community partnerships at the Atlanta History Center.
(Lawrence could potentially run by to pick up her correspondence or send someone to fetch it, as she has been back in town, filming the third in the “Hunger Games” series, “Mockingjay.”)
Filming for “Catching Fire” also took place at the Georgia World Congress Center, an area popular with filmmakers due to its cavernous space, interstate access and ample parking. There’s not much about it today that screams “Hunger Games,” but movie buffs may enjoy knowing that movies including “Parental Guidance” and “Madea’s Witness Protection” also have filmed there.
“Catching Fire” also filmed at the rustic Goat Farm Arts Center at 200 Foster St. off Howell Mill Road in Atlanta’s Westside area. Folks there are bit subdued in discussing its role in the movie.
“We think it’s very cool just to say the Goat Farm Arts Center was a filming location,” said Anthony Harper, a partner in the venture. “Our primary purpose is we do over 150 exhibitions and performances annually. We’ve got more than 450 artists and performers that work out there in studios. Our thing is to try to expose Atlanta into more art and culture.”
Tour groups are allowed to visit, but they’re encouraged to comport themselves in a manner that respects the artists who work and perform there, he said.
“It was a very positive experience,” Harper said of the filming. “They really liked shooting there. It’s a nice environment for any filming.”
If you’d like to enjoy Atlanta like a tribute before or after catching “Catching Fire,” dine at Watershed, Del Frisco’s Grille, the Buckhead Diner or the Atlanta Fish Market, where various stars have been spotted while working in Atlanta.
And if you’re at a loss for where to actually view the movie, consider the Regal Atlantic Station theater. Hunger Gamers Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson and Elizabeth Banks all have been seen there — in the audience.
The Atlanta History Center’s Capitol Tours start Nov. 22 and will be held 1-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays through Jan. 6. They will highlight the Swan House’s role as a filming location for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” The guided tours will showcase areas used during filming and will include a behind-the-scenes exhibit of photos taken during the production and props used in the film. The Capitol Tour ticket is $10 in addition to the price of general Atlanta History Center admission. Parking is free. For groups of 10 or more, call 404-814-4031 for reservations. Capitol Tours are not available on Nov. 28 or 29, Dec. 6, 14, 24 or 25, or Jan. 1. See www.AtlantaHistoryCenter.com/CapitolTours for more details.
(c)2013 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.
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Photo Credit: Atlanta's Swan House, built for prominent Atlantans Emily and Edward Inman in 1928, has a starring role in the new Hunger Games movie. Jim Bowen / Flickr
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