Newnan OKs filming of 'Joyful Noise' downtown

By ELIZABETH MELVILLE The Newnan City Council has granted permission for a production company to film portions of a movie starring Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah in Newnan. Ryan Schuetzle and Erin Fisher, both of Alcon Entertainment, went before council Tuesday evening to make the request and field questions about the project.
The movie is tentatively titled "Joyful Noise." It is said to be about two choir members -- portrayed by Parton and Latifah -- who have differing opinions on how to win the national choir competition. "Sparks fly when Dolly's grandson proposes big changes to the choir and falls in love with Queen Latifah's daughter," Fisher said in a letter to council. Mayor Keith Brady voiced his concerns over the company's requests for extensive street closures and rerouting during the project. Newnan Police Chief Douglas L. "Buster" Meadows said he's been working with Schuetzle and Fisher and recommends they implement stop-and-go traffic, when possible, rather than road closures. The production company asked to film scenes at 75 East Broad St. Actual filming would take place on Feb. 16-18. However, set preparation and restoration would have the crew on location from Feb. 8-25. Alcon would also like to film on the portion of Thompson Street and Wall Street between Salbide Avenue and East Broad Street on Feb. 18. According to Fisher, the scene will consist of Dolly Parton's grandson hitchhiking on the side of Thompson Street. Schuetzle said they would do everything possible to follow the procedures council has in place regarding filming. They agreed to further discussions with the city to facilitate filming in a way that would not inconvenience area residents. "Several companies have approached us, but this is one of the most organized packets we've seen," said Councilman Clayton Hicks. While Alcon initially asked to park its work trucks in East Broad Street during preparation and filming, Councilman George Alexander asked that they explore the possibility of parking across the street at the historic train depot or in the Caldwell tanks lot. "We'll do anything we can to keep our stuff off the streets -- it's better for us as well," said Schuetzle. Because the crew will require a night of filming at the home on East Broad, Schuetzle said that he and Fisher have gone to area residents to personally notify them and gather signatures of approval for the project, which they presented to council Tuesday. Council approved a motion -- with Mayor Pro-tem Cynthia Jenkins absent -- that, in essence, gave Alcon the "go ahead" once council's concerns have been satisfied.

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