Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

September 30, 2009

'Zombieland' out this week

Valdosta ready for its close-up

VALDOSTA — J.G. O’Connor’s pretty sure he’s seen his back in a movie preview for “Zombieland.” Like many other local zombie extras, he’s curious to see if he will see more of himself when the movie opens locally and nationwide this week.

O’Connor is one of an estimated 150 area people hired earlier this year to play zombies in the movie filmed at Wild Adventures and the former Crackin’ Good Bakery site off North Forrest Street.

Valdosta Stadium Cinemas is scheduled to show the movie at midnight Thursday night/Friday morning.

Already, many former zombies and zombie lovers are purchasing advance tickets to the first local showing, said Jim Cody, Valdosta Stadium Cinemas general manager. He’s heard from a lot of people claiming to have played zombies in the movie.

“Some people think they may be in it, but they’re not certain,” Cody said.

He recalls a few years ago working at another movie theatre where locals had been filmed in the South Georgia-based “Facing the Giants.” These extras arrived ready to find themselves on the big screen. Many left disappointed because they didn’t see themselves in any scenes.

Wild Adventures personnel plans to join the midnight showing. The park will bring its own zombies from its Halloween-themed Phobia events opening next weekend at Wild Adventures, said Micha Hogan, a park spokesperson. Some of Phobia’s zombies were hired from zombies that played in the “Zombieland” movie.

For Wild Adventures, “Zombieland” is a potential marketing bonanza. Already, movie previews have shown scenes depicting the park’s Rattler and Bugout rides as well as a Hummer crashing into Wild Adventures’ lake. On Tuesday night, park personnel were set to travel to Jacksonville, Fla., for an early screening of the movie.

Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone, and Amber Heard, the movie has already generated positive buzz from movie media and fans. Setting itself up as a comedy, “Zombieland” reportedly pokes fun at the horror genre, sort of an Americanized version of the popular Brit comedy “Shaun of the Dead.”

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