THOMASVILLE — Production of "The Tiger Rising" took place this past week at Greenwood Plantation.
Film crews were on the plantation grounds beginning Monday, Nov. 11 filming scenes for the upcoming feature film starring Dennis Quaid and Queen Latifah.
As many as 100 crew members were on the plantation grounds some days, according to Greenwood proprietor Max Beverly.
"I've never seen anything like it," Beverly said. "The amount of staff required and the herculean efforts that is behind this production was a real surprise. I could not believe how big the mobilization effort was to make this film."
Beverly estimated that as many as 40 vehicles were on site for a variety of purposes. Several off-road vehicles were there to move staff back and forth from filming locations in the woods. Generator trucks were on hand to power film equipment. They also had what Beverly described as a "mobile kitchen" — refrigerated catering trucks set up near the plantation's stables to provide meals for crew members.
Aside from the vehicles, Beverly said the production had portable lights powered through electric generators and semi trailers that appeared to be used for applying makeup.
Production began each day in the morning, as early as 3 a.m. on some days. Filming would continue until dark, though Beverly said the cameras kept rolling after nightfall on at least one occasion.
"They stayed here later than me," he said.
Weather throughout the week varied between cool and sunny and cold and rainy. On one particularly pleasant day, Beverly learned that film crews weren't necessarily enjoying the conditions as much as he was.
"They were telling me that they liked the drizzly, nasty weather better than the beautiful weather because it made for better filming conditions," he said. "I told them I was not going to apologize for the beautiful weather."
Crews were not on the plantation grounds Friday morning, but Beverly said it is his understanding that production will return to Greenwood later this month.
The $15 million budget motion picture, which also stars Christian Convery, Madalen Mills, Sam Trammell and Katharine McPhee will be filmed entirely in the Thomasville area.
Based on the 2001 children's book by Kate DiCamillo, "The Tiger Rising" is directed by Ray Giarratana.
A release date for "The Tiger Rising" has yet to be determined.