Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

September 30, 2009

'Zombieland' out this week

Valdosta ready for its close-up

(Continued)

VALDOSTA —

“Zombieland’s” action takes its characters to an amusement park overrun with zombies, which is what attracted producers to Wild Adventures.

Negotiations to film at the park occurred in late 2008. Once filming began, it was a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week process for more than two weeks in February.

Filming occurred at night, with prep beginning in the early evening hours and continuing till dawn, Hogan said. During the daylight hours, the crew prepared facades, wardrobes, and more. Stunt performers rehearsed various scenes.

“It was cool seeing the stunt zombies practice for that,” Hogan said, referring to the Bugout roller coaster scene shown in the previews.

Even with the park in full movie mode, with Woody Harrelson sightings throughout town, the set was very quiet, closed and secretive. This silence led to speculation and rumors.

Some wondered if “Zombieland” was a set-up for a reality movie to poke fun at local folks thinking they were trying out for a zombie movie. One rumor claims that a portion of the movie was filmed at Lowndes High School’s Martin Stadium. Producers reportedly approached Lowndes High about using the stadium, but school officials turned them down, according to the Lowndes County School System.

Press was not allowed on the set and local extras had to sign non-disclosure agreements, said J.G. O’Connor. Keeping with the spirit of the agreement, he didn’t share scenes but set the scene for his work on the set.

O’Connor attended auditions with several friends. He believes their antics while standing four hours in the audition line caught the attention of casting agents. Auditioning, they spent about 15 seconds each acting like zombies. He received a call and was hired.

For eight days, O’Connor worked nearly around the clock. He arrived at the set between 4-5 p.m. and often stayed till about 7 a.m. He then worked his regular job at Pawn USA.

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