Set Stalking

I’ll just cut to the chase. You all know I’m crazy obsessed with the Hunger Games. And that the real reason we planned a trip to Disney is so that I could stop in Atlanta on our way home and find the filming location of the second movie, Catching Fire. It was a large and expensive scheme–the whole Disney thing–but it worked perfectly. My family was completely fooled.

Did I really think I would meet Jennifer Lawrence or Josh Hutcherson (Katniss/Peeta) in Atlanta? Well, no, but a girl can dream. Just in case, for weeks before our trip I carefully rehearsed what I would say if I met them. (I hope you all get sarcasm. If not, carry on thinking I am officially a nut case).

For real, though, I did map out each of the filming locations and which days the cast would be on set. My plans were elaborate. I used google maps, followed twitter accounts for all the cast members and tracked them via @olv, which gives out the filming locations for all kinds of movies and tv programs on a daily basis.

What I did not plan on was that once we actually found the set locations and saw that filming was taking place, I would freeze up. The first set we found, on the way down to Disney, was at the Goat Farm Arts Center, a mere mile off I-75 and a 5 minute break from our drive. As soon as we pulled up and saw the crews, a security guard walks over to our car and asks if he can help us. My answer, “No. We’re just lost. We need directions back to the interstate.” WHAT? I could have said anything! I could have said our kids were needed on set to play deprived children from District 12! Or that I was delivering food to Jennifer Lawrence and she would be very disappointed if I didn’t bring it in person. But I totally froze up and we drove away.

Thankfully John is much better at the in-person stalking than I am. He found a parking lot that backed up to the set, and we were able to steal a few shots through the fence from there. I just had to keep reminding myself that the Peacekeeper extras could not really arrest me and turn me into an avox.

On the way home from Disney, I had planned an overnight stay downtown in Atlanta. According to my careful planning, we drove out a mile or two to the Pullman Train Yard where we found them filming inside an old train station. I’m not sure if I’m just bad at this stalking thing, or if it was just karma, but while we were out at the movie set, Peeta was photographed taking some time off and enjoying the Aquarium, located directly across the street from our hotel. Sigh.

The next morning it was on to President Snow’s mansion, where they had just finished filming the Capitol Party scene the week before.

I know I’m dorking out here, but honestly, I loved seeing the sets and all that goes into making a big movie like this. I would seriously consider applying to be an extra if any movies film in Lexington again.

Ok, now on to my photos, with descriptions. They are not the best photos, and I never did see any major cast members, but it was still awesome to be there in person. You can see really good photos, taken by professional paparazzi here, if you so desire.

I can’t wait to see the movie and say, “I stood there!”

First shot from our secret parking lot behind the Goat Farm Arts Center. The tent is set up for the extras to hang out until they’re needed. We could see them all in there, and it looked like they were checking in at tables and getting organized.

This shows the buildings on the Goat Art Farm Center, from a distance. The actual filming was taking place on the other side of those buildings.

While we’re standing in our parking lot behind the “extras” tent, we see a big bus pull up and all these extras dressed like members of a Panem district get off the bus and head toward the tent.

Another shot of extras at the Goat Arts Farm Center, Atlanta for filming on October 4th. Later I learned they were filming the District 12 Quarter Quell Reaping scene.

One more of the extras. I couldn’t believe our luck. This really made our day!

Then we spot this guy dressed in all white, in front of the black truck, near the extras tent. Just as I said to John, “could that be a Peacekeeper?” he pulls out a helmet.

…and it totally was a peacekeeper in uniform! Very cool.

This is at the Historic Pullman train yard in Atlanta on October 10th. The security guard was nice, and explained that they were filming inside that building, right at that very moment. Then he told us to move along.

Cast trailers parked at Pullman train yard. As we moved further from the actual filming location, the trailers got smaller and eventually were just tents. Hierarchy.

Back of the Pullman train yard set.

I know it’s hard to see, but I was SO excited about this photo because I spotted 3 extras dressed as if they are from District 11, and one of them was an old man with a beard. For HG fans, you may remember the old man who gets his head shot off after Katniss and Peeta give their speeches in District 11 during the Victory Tour. Could it be??

In North Atlanta, we visited Swan House at the Atlanta History Museum. This house was used as President Snow’s mansion for the Capitol Party scene during the Victory Tour in the movie.

Another view. Online I learned that they filmed quite a bit outside of the house, specifically here in the back, where I’m standing taking the photo.

We were here on October 11, so here’s a picture of the birthday boy.

Here is a shot of the lawn where some of the film was shot. This was taken from the steps of the house.

And here’s a view from the road below. All the sod was brand new–you could tell they had just taken away the walkway and bridges I had seen in online photos of the set and replaced the sod. But the fountains that were built for the scene were still in place on either side of the lawn.

One last shot. So pretty and peaceful there. I guess President Snow was still asleep.

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