If you spot an Aston Martin speeding down the wrong side of Peachtree, or if there are sudden runs on martini shakers, don’t be alarmed; James Bond may be in Georgia.
Pinewood Studios, which was the set for all but two of the twenty-three official 007 movies to date (including last summer’s smash Skyfall), has begun development of a 288-acre studio complex in Fayetteville. Pinewood is the latest of five major studios lured here by Georgia’s tax breaks and a skilled film-industry workforce. But what separates the U.K. operation’s first American branch is its pedigree, which also includes the Harry Potter franchise and Superman. Pinewood’s ambition is to bring those types of big-budget Hollywood blockbusters to five soundstages being built in the woods just south of Atlanta. Pinewood communications director Andrew Smith says the space will be ready to host its first production in January 2014. What the inaugural project might be is a spy-proof secret.
The construction is funded by the Brits’ partner, River’s Rock LLC, an independent trust managed by the Cathy family of chicken sandwich fame. So might we see Chick-fil-A cows parachuting into the Georgia hills on Her Majesty’s secret service? Smith says any cinematic product placement is up to the writers and producers. We predict if 007 did saunter into the Peach State, he’d like his chicken fried, not grilled.
This article originally appeared in our July 2013 issue.