THOMASVILLE — Production of an upcoming feature film is expected to bring more than $1 million in economic windfall to Thomasville, according to the film's producer.

Out of a $15 million budget, "The Tiger Rising" is planning to spend at least $1 million locally, producer Allen Cheney said. That money will be used for hotels and restaurants for production workers, to rent homes where filming is set to take place, to contract local electricians and to purchase supplies from merchants, among other uses, according to the Thomasville Payroll Development Authority. In at least once instance, the film's production crew purchased antiques from a local store.

Production of the film, which was originally set to begin in several weeks, is now scheduled to begin in Thomasville on Thursday.

Filming dates were pushed up for logistical reasons, Cheney said, though the change ended up making a more ideal shooting schedule.

"This is sort of the game of production," Cheney said. "You have parts that move by the day, and sometimes your whole world can get turned upside down."

Two hundred cast and crew members will be in town when filming begins.

PDA Executive Director Shelley Zorn toured the production's Broad Street office Wednesday night and met with staff and actors.

"It's pretty exciting for a town our size," Zorn said.

More than 800 applicants from across Georgia responded to a casting call by Thomasville Pictures to serve as extras in the film. Thomasville Pictures is no longer searching for additional applicants.

Based on the 2001 children's book by Kate DiCamillo, "The Tiger Rising" will star Queen Latifah, Dennis Quaid, Christian Convery and Madalen Mills. The movie will tell the story of a young boy and his friend who go on an adventure with a tiger, and will be directed by Ray Giarratana.

A release date for "The Tiger Rising" has yet to be determined.

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