TV hit 'Walking Dead' returns Sunday
By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
The day “Walking Dead” fans have been waiting for is finally here: The AMC television network hit series returns tonight for the second half of Season 3.
For those not already fans of the zombie apocalypse series – primarily filmed in Coweta County for the past two seasons – AMC has aired “Walking Dead” marathons, bringing newer fans up to speed before tonight’s premiere. The network aired Season 2 in its entirety twice Saturday and will give viewers another look at the first half of Season 3 beginning at 12:57 p.m., leading up to the mid-season premiere at 9 p.m.
In last fall’s mid-season finale, Glen and Maggie were rescued from Woodbury – the fictional “Walking Dead” town for which Senoia served as a backdrop – but fan favorite Darryl was captured, apparently as he tried to communicate with his long-lost brother Merle.
Merle is in big trouble himself as it becomes obvious that he lied about killing Michonne, who has just killed the Governor’s beloved undead daughter and stabbed the Governor himself in the eye.
At the end of the episode, the Governor announced he would be pitting brother against brother in a battle to the death before a cheering crowd of Woodbury residents.
A small section of Senoia was briefly transformed back into Woodbury this weekend, as crews were out Friday and Saturday filming some exterior scenes. According to location manager Mike Riley, the shots will facilitate editing for upcoming shows. That didn’t stop a small crowd from gathering Friday night to watch the film crews work.
The mid-season premiere of “The Walking Dead” comes on the heels of the announcement of plans for a major film studio in Fayette County. Pinewood Studios, a legendary British company, is set to manage the proposed studio, to be built on 288 acres on Hwy. 54.
Every “James Bond” film ever made was filmed at Pinewood in London, said Scott Tigchelaar, president of Raleigh Studios Atlanta in Senoia.
“I love them. They’re a huge name,” Tigchelaar said.
The company has been looking for a location for its first U.S. studio, he said, scouting locations in Georgia and Louisiana. Pinewood would join Raleigh and EUE Screen Gems’ studio at the old Lakewood Fairgrounds site in south Atlanta.
The southside is “really becoming a production hub,” Tigchelaar said.
He doesn’t look at Pinewood as competition; Raleigh is booked solid with “The Walking Dead.” Instead, the new studio will help by attracting production resources and crew to the area.
The announcement illustrates the effectiveness of the incentives for film production that Georgia implemented several years ago, Tigchelaar said.
In addition to a movie studio, the Pinewood complex will serve as a training ground for new filmmakers, lighting and grip crew and other industry workers, according to The Associated Press. That training will be a partnership between the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 479 and Clayton State University.
“It’s designed to meet the current needs of the film industry in Georgia. There’s a need for crew members,” said Janet Winkler of Clayton State’s continuing education department, which will oversee the film school.