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Posted: July 21, 2009 3:56 p.m.

'Vampire Diaries' crew to film on square Thursday, Friday

Filming to last nine months; show will air on CW this fall

Update: The "Vampire Diaries" crew will be filming on the square from 4 p.m. to 6 a.m. Thursday and from 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. Friday. There will be cameras, equipment and vehicles on the sidewalks, curbside and streets around the square, and the crew will be holding traffic intermittently for filming. There will also be temporary road closures on both days of filming. If you have questions or concerns about settings for shoots, call the locations office at 770-987-0666 (Please note this number is not for casting inquiries). 

For more details continue to check covnews.com. Read about the show below.

Covington’s square once again fit the bill as the perfect place for a small-town television series.

The Vampire Diaries, a new teen television series on The CW network based on author L.J. Smith’s 1991 trilogy of books, will be filmed in downtown Covington beginning July 21. Covington will play the role of the small Virginia town of Mystic Falls.

"When the writers came and visited Covington and saw the square, it was exactly what they had pictured for Mystic Falls," said Jessica Royal, a Bonanza Productions employee. Bonanza is producing the series in association with Warner Brothers.

Royal and Jonathan Janssen, site manager for Vampire Diaries, spoke at Monday’s city council meeting and described their plans to shoot at a number of different downtown locales, including Jim Alexander’s law firm at 1115 Clark St., which will serve as a grill restaurant, Sue and Scott Cole’s house at 2104 Floyd St. and of course the square.

The city council gave tentative approval to Bonanza to film downtown, assuming all appropriate permits are applied for and plans are made in partnership with local residents and business owners.

Janssen said they chose Covington because of the great incentives offered by Georgia and the film-friendly environment of Covington, which Chamber Tourism Director Clara Deemer helps create.

"We work really close with the state department of film and television and those folks really know Covington. One thing that helps us is our proximity to Atlanta; we’re close enough that it’s not an all day trip," Deemer said.

"Several months back, we received an e-mail from the state that Vampire Diaries was looking at Georgia, after they had filmed their pilot in Vancouver. The state asked ‘Do you think you have places that fit the bill for this or that.’ Here we are going to find a place if we can, so we sent back photos and destinations and several weeks ago we had a call from the state saying that the location manager, Jonathan, had liked the way Covington and the square fit."

Bill Thompson, deputy commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Film, Music and Digital Entertainment office, said Covington has a proven track record of hosting successful films and television productions.

“The word gets around when a specific locale is film friendly, is an easy place to do business, and provides all of the resources, locations, and inspiration needed for a producer to realize his or her vision,” Thompson said. “Covington has been a very welcoming environment for production companies for many years.”

Bonanza will film at least 12 episodes in Covington, beginning around July 21. If the show is successful, the first season will be extended, and the final additional episode would be finished filming sometime in April.

Royal said the producers hope the show will be successful and picked up for a second season, in which case filming would start back up again in June. Councilwoman Janet Goodman said she thinks the series will be successful because "vampire stuff is on the up and up."

Royal said the production crew will be based in Atlanta and will be filming in locations around Georgia, although she’s not certain of other locations yet. Covington will be the set for the main location of Mystic Falls, but Covington didn’t have a large enough high school for the show and Newton Medical Center preferred not to be a filming location, so Royal said the show will require several other locations.

Deemer said it was hard to gauge the economic impact the series would have on Covington, because no crews are going to be staying in the city itself. She said Halloween II, whose crew did lodge in Covington, had a huge impact of hundreds of thousands of dollars, between paying for lodging, eating out, renting office space, renting shooting locations and hiring temporary workers.

The Vampire Diaries shares many similarities to the more recently popular Twilight series, centering on a high school student who becomes interested in a mysterious male classmate who turns out to be a vampire.

The CW Web site provides a brief description of the show: "Elena Gilbert has always been a star student: beautiful, popular and involved with school and friends. As the fall semester begins, Elena becomes fascinated with the mysterious new boy in school, Stefan Salvatore, and she has no way of knowing he is a centuries-old vampire. While Stefan struggles to live peacefully among humans, his brother Damon is the embodiment of violence and brutality. Now these two vampire brothers — one good, one evil — are at war for Elena’s soul in the small town of Mystic Falls, Virginia."

Fans of Smith’s book series should expect a few significant changes from the books according to various fan sites and discussion, including an altered appearance of the main character, the main character having a brother instead of a sister and a town with a different name and character.

The three main characters will be played by actors Nina Dobrev, currently in the CW series Degrassi: The Next Generation; Paul Wesley, who has recently appeared in episodes of 24 and Army Wives; and Ian Somerhalder, who played Boone Carlyle on Lost.

The show will premiere September 10 at 8 p.m. on The CW. For more information about the show and to see a trailer visit The CW’s Web page at cwtv.com/shows/the-vampire-diaries.

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