Some St. Simons beachgoers were distracted from the sun and the waves Tuesday by a movie set that sprouted up seemingly overnight on East Beach.
The filming of a scene for “Doctor Sleep,” a Warners Brothers production and the sequel to the 1980 classic horror film “The Shining,” took over a portion of the beach Tuesday and will continue today.
Warner Brothers studio requested to use the area next to the First Street Beach Access, near the Old Coast Guard Station, according to a permit issued by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
The movie will follow the story of Dan Torrance, the boy from “The Shining,” as a grown man.
“It’s not my kind of movie, I’m not a horror fan,” said Laurel Barnes, a St. Simons resident, as she watched the movie set operations from afar Tuesday on East Beach. “But it’s fascinating to watch them do this.”
Barnes stood about 200 feet away from the set, which included several large RVs and other vehicles, a tent, beach chairs, a picnic table and a fire pit constructed by the film’s crew members.
“There’s so much detail there,” observed Donna Bassett, a St. Simons resident, as she watched the crew set up. “… On the side of the RV it says “Vengeance.” I think they painted it on there … And then all the cars and trucks are from whatever era they’re trying to represent.”
The scene being filmed involved about 10 actors camping at the beach with RVs, according to the permit. Filming was scheduled to take place during the day and at night.
A flurry of activity was constant all morning. Crew members transported equipment using golf carts and four wheelers. Trucks and tents were set up in the Coast Guard Station parking lot.
Preparation of the set began last Friday, according to the permit.
Warner Brothers studio is working with S&K Pictures while producing the movie. An official release date for the film has not been set.
“The Shining,” based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel, has been hailed as one of the scariest horror films of all time. “Doctor Sleep” is based on King’s 2013 novel.
“Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel, where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism and violence,” according to a description of the book on Amazon.com. “Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant shining power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes ‘Doctor Sleep.’”
In the book, Dan meets Abra Stone, “and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival,” according to the book description.
The film will reportedly star Ewan McGregor, a Scottish actor.
Famous actors, film crews and movie sets are not unfamiliar sights in the Golden Isles, though.
Tax incentives for the film industry in Georgia have led to a significant increase in movie and television filming in the state. Total film and television spending in Georgia came in at $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2017, according to the state’s Department of Economic Development. Productions generated a $9.5 billion economic impact in Georgia.
The state’s film incentive program has brought several large-budget movie productions to Glynn County.
“Live By Night” was filmed in Brunswick and “Magic Mike XXL,” “X-Men First Class” and “Glory” filmed on Jekyll Island.
Barnes, who’s lived on St. Simons for 10 years, recalled observing the film set of “Anchorman 2” and spotting actors Will Ferrell and Christina Applegate on set.
“They built a pool on the beach for that movie,” she said. “As just the average Joe, all I see is dollar signs.”