From the locations to the cast, almost everything in the new movie "Operator" might be recognizable to area residents - and that is because the film's team utilized mostly local resources for the action-thriller.
"Operator" follows 911 dispatcher Pamela over a period of 24 hours as she receives anonymous calls reporting disasters before they occur. What starts as something strange turns into something much more sinister as Pamela tries to get police to the scene to prevent each catastrophe before it happens.
"The film is going to be amazing," said Taylor Owenby, the film's producer and a Covington native. "‘Operator' blends action with suspense to create an edge-of-your-seat experience for the entire film. If you like thriller movies, if you like action, if you like drama; this one's for you."
Owenby came on board as the "Operator" producer in May. The film's directors were interested in shooting in Georgia and Owenby was able to point them in the right direction. The original plan was to film in Cobb County, but he felt they should switch locations.
"Because I grew up here in Covington, I am familiar with the people and locations here and I knew the town was film friendly," Owenby said. "We moved the project here in June to begin planning for production."
The crew is utilizing many areas and buildings, including the SKC industrial complex, locations in Oxford, streets in Mansfield, the Covington Square, and Farmers and Merchant Bank just off Salem Road/Sigman Road in Conyers.
The scene at Farmers and Merchant Bank - a bank robbery scene - will be filmed on Sunday, July 27; Evans Tool and Die property will be used as the staging area and no streets will be closed, said Owenby.
"It's a pivotal scene, so we're excited to work with the bank," he said.
Extras are still needed for the scene on Sunday.
"We are looking for all types for tomorrow morning's bank scene. Please bring three options for wardrobe. The dress is business casual."
Extras are needed for Monday as well for a street scene; children ages 8-14 in casual dress as well as all types are needed. Any children applying as extras are requested to bring a backpack and three wardrobe options. "No crazy colors or patterns, no white, no black," said Owenby.
Extras can apply for upcoming roles by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the exception of the handful of Hollywood stars, Owenby and the casting team selected local residents for both speaking parts and extra roles.
"Many of the locals are getting a lot of screen time," Owenby said.
"I actually got my start in this business when I was cast in a Lifetime movie when I was 8," Owenby said. "The project was shooting in Covington near my home and I was interested in what was going on. I walked up to the crew and they ended up letting me audition for a small part, which I secured. So, it is really awesome to be back in the place, for me, where it all started 17 years ago."
Local businesses have also extended a hand to accommodate the cast and crew. Boutique Southern Shinz has served as the film's wardrobe office and Smiley's as its caterer.
"It's been a great experience being able to grab coffee from Square Perk and walk Mischa over there," Owenby said of the film's star.
"We try to have them use as many local businesses as they can."