Final editing complete for movie shot in Chattanooga area - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Final editing complete for movie shot in Chattanooga area

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Actor Robert Pattinson completes local scene Actor Robert Pattinson completes local scene
Robert Pattinson completes local scene Robert Pattinson completes local scene
Film crew outside home in Chickamauga, GA Film crew outside home in Chickamauga, GA

By WRCB Staff

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – Scenes from Chickamauga, Georgia and the Chattanooga area are part of an upcoming Hollywood movie called Water for Elephants. The movie is based on the #1 New York Times bestseller. Final editing wrapped this weekend, according to director Francis Lawrence. The premiere is April 17 in New York with the official nationwide release taking place on April 22. The U.S. release will be followed by international premieres later. The total running time of the movie is just under two hours.

From July 30 through August 5, Channel 3 tracked the stars, crews, and fans for one of the biggest movies shoots to come to the area. Fans arrived before sunrise one morning on West Cove Road in Chickamauga to catch a glimpse of actor Robert Pattinson.

Pattinson shot a scene inside the home on West Cove Road and walked out the front door carrying a hat, and a suitcase. You can see part of that scene in the official movie trailer at 36 seconds in. Another scene shot in Chickamauga is visible at 59 seconds into the trailer.

In addition to filming at the home in Chickamauga, the crew shot at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.

Besides excitement and all the other hoopla that comes along with a major movie coming to town there are other benefits too.

Local Economy Helped

"They've been scouting around Walker County and the surrounding area for sites to film for a good little while here," Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell told Channel 3 this summer.

Heiskell remembers when Hollywood descended upon Walker County before. 

"We did have a film shoot in Rock Springs," she says.  "They used quite a number of county employees as extras."

From that experience Heiskell says that Water for Elephants will bring the county a pretty penny in sales tax revenue.

"You don't get any tax incentives for this, but it puts about $100,000 each day that they film into our economy," the commissioner says. 

Heiskell also says it's not just about money, because when big names like Robert Pattinson come to town more than anything it means exposure. 

"It calls attention to Walker County and its beauty," she says.  "It might increase our ability to attract tourism."

Local Family Involved

Carol Cross says her husband and his brother own the home where scenes of the movie were shot.

The Cross family says they were approached about the film in the spring of 2010. Since that time numerous film crews traveled back and forth to Chickamauga, Georgia to scout and prepare the site.

"A man just approached him and asked him who owned the house and wanted to know if it would be ok if they considered shooting a movie there, "Carol Cross says.

The family says crews spent months and miles on the interstate trying to find the perfect location to shoot the scenes dating back to the 1930's.

"It has no electricity it has no water, no one has lived in it for 12 years," Cross says.

"We are going to be part of the history and there is going to be people talking about this for years to come," Cross says.

The Plot

The story follows Jacob Jankowski (played by Pattinson) who was a veterinary student in his youth. In the movie, Jacob is an elderly man recalling the experiences of his youth working for the Benzini Brothers circus. As part of the traveling group, Jacob was put in charge of taking care of the animals.

During his tenure he forms bonds with Marlena (played by Reese Witherspoon) and Rosie. Marlena was a performer who was married to a deranged animal trainer and Rosie was a troubled elephant that the circus was desperate to have trained. The three's companionship proved a vital factor in surviving the hardships of life on the road with the immoral circus troop.

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