The Hollywood Side of Winston-Salem

My gym got a surprise visitor yesterday: Owen Wilson!

I was running on a treadmill and in he walked, and then proceeded to tour the facility with a staff member. I, of course, quickly turned to the interwebs and found out that he, Zach Galifianakis, and Amy Poehler are all in town for the next couple of months filming a movie called You Are Here, a comedy written and directed by Matthew Weiner of Mad Men fame.

Learning about this film sparked my interest, and I wanted to learn more about the film history of my new North Carolina town. After all, the downtown area has been restored in recent years and seems quite quaint and film friendly. (In fact, some co-workers and I stumbled upon the filming of a Hallmark Channel movie earlier this year while trying to find a lunch location on Trade Street.)

Between Old Salem, — the Moravian community founded in 1766 and restored to appear as though the town did in the 18th century — the restored downtown, and the picturesque Wake Forest University campus, it seems like this area would be an optimal choice for certain films.

Here are a few examples of movies who used Winston-Salem as their backdrops:

  • The Bedroom Window (1987): The most striking thing about this movie is how incredibly outdated it looks! Starring Steve Guttenberg (of 3 Men and a Baby fame), the mystery/thriller was filmed in both Winston-Salem and Baltimore:
  • Thank You For Smoking (2005): This one’s a no-brainer. It makes perfect sense that a movie focused around the smoking industry would feature a scene here in R.J. Reynolds country. I couldn’t find a W-S clip, but here’s the trailer:
  • Junebug (2005): This flick featuring the bubbly Amy Adams in her breakout role (she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress) as well as original music by Yo La Tengo is definitely worth checking out:
  • The Fifth Quarter (2010): Though this movie is pretty sappy and the acting (and music) is incredibly cheesy, this film is based on the true story of a Wake Forest football player whose brother was killed in a car accident. Though initially the remaining brother gave up football, he eventually returned to the game as a way to honor his brother’s memory:

And to wrap things up with a totally unrelated fun fact about Winston-Salem for those not from here, notice anything familiar about this city’s little skyline?:

No? What if we zoom in a little closer?:

If this building pictured (the Reynolds Building) looks familiar, it’s because it was designed by the same architect behind the Empire State Building. In fact, it served as the prototype for its iconic New York counterpart. (Not too bad for a little North Carolina town, huh?)

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One Comment

  1. heather z

    And don’t forget the movie Leatherheads with George Clooney and Renee Zellweger. And back in the early 90s they filmed Mr. Destiny with James Belushi and Michael Caine.

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