The Location Experience
To film The DUFF, CBS Films chose to return to Atlanta where the studio had a
great experience shooting interiors for their recent hit Last Vegas.
"The story lends itself to a lot of different locations," says Gidlow. "We had a
pretty easy time finding sites in Atlanta which, with its different environments
and textures, was really well-suited for the locations. And the choice to use
actual locations gives a better feel to the movie. I think actors are better
able to create their characters in real environments as opposed to soundstages."
Viola agrees. "We shot at a couple of schools where there were real students in
attendance for summer school. I think there was nothing better than the vibe of
true youth to help elevate the material and keep us grounded."
"There is something about shooting in Atlanta. Everyone here is psyched about
the movie business - even the extras," says Sandel, whose grandparents are from
the area. "When we shot the scene at Madison's party, the extras were so excited
to be there, they had a great attitude and they wanted to work. At the end of
the scene a lot of them came up to me and said it was a great experience and
thanked me for including them."
In addition to Henry W. Grady and Marietta High Schools, other locations used in
the metro Atlanta area include Perimeter Mall, the Cobb Energy Performing Arts
Centre, Stone Mountain Park, and Dave and Buster's (a restaurant, bar and game
venue). The party scene at Morgan's house was filmed at a mansion in Atlanta's
upscale Buckhead area while homes in the regentrified neighborhood of Kirkwood
were stand-ins for Bianca's, Robby's and Nick's houses.
Atlanta also provided the cast members opportunities to hang out together which
became a crucial part of building the relationships that were reflected on
screen. A close group who call each other by a multitude of affectionate
nicknames, the cast speaks in glowing terms about each other.
During an outing to an Atlanta Braves game, the cast was caught on the
Jumbotron's "hug cam" and "dance cam" and took time to talk to fans. Amell took
a behind the scenes tour and dove with the whale sharks at the Atlanta Aquarium.
Whitman and the other cast went out and sang church organ karaoke tunes, where
she says, "We sang almost every song in the book."
Thorne became a gym workout partner with Amell and swimming pool buddies with
Samuels. During breaks shooting at Dave and Buster's, Sandel, Whitman and
Eversman would engage in a battle of Guitar Hero while other cast and crew
members hit the skee ball and video games.
"It was pretty cool that the producers assembled a group of people who actually
like each other. The job is always going to be hard. The days are always going
to be long," says Samuels. "But every day we work together. We eat together. We
talk about the day together and then we would get out on the town for these
great adventures together."
"As everybody transitions from youth to adulthood you get into those private
moments of sharing when you realize the universal message that everybody has
their stuff - their insecurities, their feelings of DUFFness," explains McG.
"And to some degree we have a bit of that struggle our entire lives. That is why
I think the movie will appeal to a broader audience than just girls and teens."
"Everyone knows what it is like to be sort of the underdog of high school.
Everybody knows what it is like to feel alone," says Cagan. "And even if you are
the most handsome or prettiest kid in school, you still have these feelings of,
'Am I doing this wrong?' I hope we were able to tap into that a little and then
put a generous spin of funny on top of it."
"Everybody has gone through high school," agrees Janney. "So this is completely
relatable to every single person on the planet."
Whitman hopes the movie will illuminate the bigger issue of everyone's tendency
to compare and create limitations that hold us back. She says, "If you walk out
of the theater and for even five minutes feel a little bit less trapped by your
perceptions of yourself, then the movie is a success."
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