T-Town used to stand for Thomaston Town. But if the movie makers keep coming, T-Town could soon stand for Tinseltown. Thomaston and Upson County are already known for being used in the TV series ‘Walking Dead,’ and the film ‘
The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 1.’ Another movie made use of part of Thomaston for its production last Thursday. ‘The Founder,’ a movie about the life of Ray Kroc, the founder of the McDonald’s restaurant chain, filmed throughout the day Thursday at Piggie Park. At times, traffic on Highway 19 had to be shut down briefly for the filming.
‘The Founder’ stars Michael Keaton and Laura Dern. It is directed by John Lee Hancock, best known for his films, ‘The Rookie’ in 2002, ‘The Blind Side’ in 2009, and ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ in 2013. ‘The Founder’ is being produced by Film Nation.
‘The Founder’ focuses on how Ray Kroc — a milkshake dispenser salesman – turned McDonald’s into a global fast food empire. Kroc began working for the McDonald brothers in 1954 at the age of 51 as a franchising agent and bought the chain for $2.7 million in 1961. He died in 1984. Today, McDonald’s remains one of the leading foodservice retailers in more than 100 countries, with 36,000 restaurants serving 69 million people every day.
Lori Showalter Smith, President of the Thomaston-Upson Chamber of Commerce, said Piggie Park will actually play two different roles in the movie.
“Piggie Park served as two of the restaurants that Kroc used to serve his milkshakes to,” Smith said. “One side of Piggie Park is painted blue and they’ll have menus from the 1950’s. The front of Piggie Park serves as another restaurant that he sold milkshakes to. They have a lot of things from the 1950’s era, like a cigarette machine and the old metal garbage cans.”
In addition to filming at Piggie Park, a portion of ‘The Founder’ will also be filming at Griffith’s Drive In in Griffin.
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.