In early July, we were invited to visit Georgia, where the HBO series Sharp Objects was filmed. Sharp Objects is an adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s debut novel. She’s also the author of Gone Girl, which received rave reviews when it was adapted to the big screen in 2014.
Sharp Objects is an eight-episode series directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who recently won an Emmy for his work on the HBO series Big Little Lies. This time Vallée brings to life a dark series that follows reporter Camille Preaker (Amy Adams), who returns to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, to cover the murders of teen girls.
While the book is set in the fictional town of Wind Gap, the series was actually filmed in Barnesville, Georgia. It’s a small American town with a population of almost 7,000.
A select group of press from London, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, France, Australia, Los Angeles, South Africa, Japan and Canada arrived in Atlanta at the Hotel Clermont. After taking in the view of the city from the incredible roof terrace, we were treated to a screening of the first episode of the series at the Plaza Theatre.
Afterwards, when we arrived in Barnesville, an hour and 20 minute drive away from Atlanta, we could immediately see why it was chosen for filming. It’s a quiet town, with dark alleys and tree-lined streets.
Community Development Director of the City Council Niki Sappington and the Mayor of Barnesville, Peter Banks, welcomed the press over lunch at “Deraney’s The Pizzeria… and Such” downtown prior to a walking tour of the filming locations. Main Street, where several of the scenes were filmed, was where the police station was set up. On the show, Camille visits the police station when she first lands in Wind Gap. The police station graphics and signs were still installed from filming on one of the shops.
Walking along Market Street, you could see that it was used as is, and can be seen in the first episode when Camille drives into town. The shop beside the thrift store was dressed as a ’90s candy store.
On Market Street, the postcard-themed mural with the words “Welcome to Wind Gap, Missouri,” still can be seen in the town. It was aged on the show, but it’s a perfect photo spot for visitors. On Forsyth Street, a bakery mural was painted on the side of a wall. Barnesville’s Andrew Henry worked with the artists on set to create these murals, and some of his work can be seen on Barnesville buildings.
The intersection of Main, Forsyth and Zebulon Streets is the Town Square (pictured at right), a distinct location as seen in several shots throughout the series. In the first episode, children were seen at a memorial for the missing kids, right beside Wind Gap founding father Zeke Calhoun’s statue.
We walked to the Main Street alley where Natalie Keene’s body was found. Following that, we took a tour of Barnesville’s local newspaper, The Herald-Gazette, led by editor Walter Geiger. He filled us in on how he and his team cover breaking news in their small town and how they were thrilled to have this series shot there. He even wrote about our visit to Barnesville.
To take in more of the Southern charm and hospitality, we were invited on a trip to Savannah. We stayed at the luxurious DeSoto Hotel for the night, which offered sweeping views of the city.
We went on a “True Crime and Haunting Stories” tour of Savannah hosted by Haunted Savannah. This leg of the trip offered insight as to why and how the mystery of the South helped create the perfect setting for a psychological thriller like Sharp Objects.
Savannah holds many secrets and we walked from one site to the next, listening to the tales of the true crimes and murders that took place there. It’s no wonder that these haunting stories lend a chilling hand in creating an eerie atmosphere.
When you watch Sharp Objects, you can almost feel the intensity in the air, the Southern Gothic vibe leaving you with a sense of dread. It’s the mystery of these places combined with the narrow alleys and small towns that perfectly describe the setting in Gillian Flynn’s novel. That was the one of the main draws for filming in Georgia.
But why not film in Missouri? We spoke to Kathy Oxford, executive director of Barnesville-Lamar County Industrial Development Authority, who told us that the tax credit incentives make Georgia a main draw for filmmakers. Blockbuster movies such as Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther, as well as the hit series The Walking Dead, were also filmed there.
In addition, local businesses were well compensated when the town was on shut down for the production of Sharp Objects, so businesses were more than happy to accommodate the cast and crew. Amy Adams, Jean-Marc Vallée and the rest of the cast and crew enjoyed a bit of Southern charm, as did we. Below, you can see several shots of Barnesville as it appeared in the very first episode.
HBO’s Sharp Objects is now available for Digital Download. It will release on Blu-ray and DVD on November 27. Check out the photos from our press trip to Georgia below. Article and photos: Marriska Fernandes