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May 27, 2013 | Atlanta, GA
As moviegoers flock to theaters on June 7 to laugh at the latest antics of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in The Internship, most probably won’t realize how much of Tech’s effort went into supporting the cast and crew that filmed portions of the flick on campus last summer.
“We received the first inquiry for this movie in March 2012 from a location scout who wanted to see if Georgia Tech had anything suitable for a script from 20th Century Fox,” said Lisa Grovenstein, senior director of News and Campus Communications. “Once Institute Communications reviewed and signed off on the script, the movie director and producers descended upon campus and quickly realized that Georgia Tech would serve as the perfect backdrop for the production. Shortly thereafter, representatives from units and departments across campus began to mobilize for what would be a very eventful summer.”
Shawn Levy, director of The Internship, said there wasn’t even a “close runner-up” to Georgia Tech when it came to selecting the ideal filming location.
“I wasn’t sure how a movie would shoot while people were on campus,” Levy said. “But there was no disruption, and the film and the university were able to coexist. I loved being on a university campus and really found the spaces beautiful — especially Clough.”
Here are a few memories from some of the people who helped ensure that everything ran smoothly.
Yolonda Cameron, Senior Attorney, Legal Affairs
Role: Drafted main legal agreement between 20th Century Fox and Georgia Tech and was involved in related negotiations.
Enjoyable Part: Knowing that the final film would be a tangible result of the work she was doing. “I also enjoyed walking around and seeing parts of Tech’s campus transformed into Google’s headquarters and watching some of the filming take place.”
Greatest Challenge: How much the main agreement expanded and the deadline for finishing it was protracted. The agreement grew from 14 to 48 pages and took about six weeks to finish. “I dealt with the challenges by remembering to breathe, keeping my sense of humor, and knowing that I was going to be able to point to the movie and say ‘I helped do that.’”
Howard Wertheimer, Director, Capital Planning and Space Management
Role: Considered whether proposed filming spots on campus would work both physically and without disruption to schedules for final exams and other Institute events. Served as a liaison between the film crew and campus units.
Enjoyable Part: Witnessing how quickly the movie crew could transform a building or space into a Google campus environment and then transform it back to its original condition — barely leaving any evidence. “Sometimes, I wish we could design and construct projects as quickly as they did.”
Greatest Challenge: Dealing with the challenges of the time of year the movie filmed on campus, which was during the end of summer semester and final exams; FASET orientations; and the beginning of fall semester. “Everyone at Georgia Tech stepped up and did an extraordinary job. Certainly, if we can work through the logistics of hosting the 1996 Summer Olympics, we could accommodate the filming of a movie — and we did!”
Archie Hill, Supervisor of Special Events Division, Georgia Tech Police Department
Role: Provided security and crowd management during the filming.
Enjoyable Part: Watching how excited faculty, staff, students, and campus visitors were about the movie.
Greatest Challenge: Working with several building managers to ensure that normal building operations were not disrupted. “But, with their help we were able to reroute pedestrian traffic and close small areas for a short time to minimize interruptions for everyone.”
Jennifer Upton, Marketing and Events Manager, Georgia Tech Library and Clough Commons
Role: Relayed information regarding the film schedule, expectations, and possible disruptions to the Library and Clough Commons occupants. Helped to ensure that the film crew and Georgia Tech could coexist in Clough Commons.
Enjoyable Part: Getting to see Clough Commons transform so dramatically and knowing that so much of the set was actually artificial. “When the shoot was over, lots of individuals asked why we didn't keep more of the items from the set. The answer was obvious to me — most of this stuff was just pretend. There was a reason that Owen Wilson’s body double did most of the shoots going down the slide (which I heard was greased with motor oil)!”
Greatest Challenge: Ensuring that the standard of the day-to-day activities and events taking place in the building was not jeopardized. “I think we pulled it off. I just got an email from a Tech event contact whose activity occurred during filming, saying it was one of the most successful events they ever had, and they want to reserve Clough again this summer.”
Sara Warner, Assistant Director for Communications, Campus Recreation Center (CRC)
Role: Assisted in logistics of the cast and crew’s use of the Leadership Challenge Complex and one of the CRC studios.
Enjoyable Part: Working with the production team. “They were very happy to be on campus and thankful for all that we did for them.”
Greatest Challenge: The first day of filming was the most difficult, because the CRC team hadn’t anticipated some needs such as last-minute changes to schedules. But as the week progressed, the team became better at predicting those needs and finding solutions.