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Baywatch boosts Savannah location filming

BaywatchLocation filming for Dwayne Johnson’s movie version of lifeguard TV series Baywatch helped boost production spending in Savannah, Georgia, in 2016.

Savannah lies to the east on the state’s Atlantic coast and production spending on films and TV shows reached $60m through the course of last year, according to state authority figures reported by media outlet Savannah Morning News. 

Baywatch was the highest-profile movie, while period slavery series Underground was the biggest TV production. Savannah in fact stood in for the beaches of California during the Baywatch shoot, but the city also frequently doubles for New Orleans. 

“A lot of times what we’re doing is trying to make Savannah look like another place,” said Beth Nelson, office director of the Savannah Area Film Office, in comments to the outlet.

“It’s almost identical [to New Orleans]. It’s incredible how we can have those kinds of pictures. We just scouted with a big project two weeks ago and they were looking for Boston and we found a lot of Boston here, believe it or not.”

For more on filming in Georgia and for local contacts see our production guide.

Savannah will offer a new studio facility in the coming years with the 150,000-sq-ft River Oaks Film Studios to provide six sound stages by the end of 2018.

The film office will also focus this year on building Savannah’s crew base, which has been a challenge throughout Georgia due to the state’s rapid rise to prominence as a national production hub.  

Generous state filming incentives have played a major role in Georgia’s growth but films and TV shows are generally based in the capital Atlanta. Long-term residents in the city include Marvel, which is currently working on superhero follow-ups Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther.

Image: Paramount/The Rock/Instagram