Multi-Million Dollar Georgia Home in the Spotlight for The Blind Side

By: Sarah Beackley

Staff Writer

April 29, 2013

When Forrest and Lorri McClain purchased their $3.5 million home in Atlanta back in 2005, they didn’t know location finders would make their home famous in 2009 as one of the main filming locations for The Blind Side. The movie, starring Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw, is based on the real-life story of NFL football player Michael Oher, adopted as a teen by the Tuhoy family to help him fulfill his potential. The movie’s story began as a book, which ironically, Mr. McClain had just finished reading when a film scout offered to use the interior of the home for the film.

The production company shot in the Georgia residential property for six weeks. The family was able to visit the home as they wished, but stayed in a paid-for rental property offered to them. While the producers loved the 11,000 square foot home with seven bedrooms and bathrooms, they rearranged quite a bit to accommodate the desired movie set. The living room and dining room were switched in the movie and none of the family’s own furniture was used. This is common when filming in a local home, so the film crew takes the right measures to maintain the integrity of the home’s layout. The team takes several photos of every room that will be seen in the film from different angles to capture the furniture setup down to the small details. If existing furniture fits the movie set, they will rearrange it as they need to or they will bring in their own furniture. In that case, the family’s furniture is moved into storage. When the production team is finished filming, they use their photos and notes to put the furniture, artwork, and everything else back exactly the way it was before. The foyer, staircase, and a bedroom fireplace were featured as is in the film. The home has plenty of space and an open, expansive layout which is probably what attracted the producer.

There is a lot that goes into the process of filming on location in a resident’s home, from the preparation to the removal of equipment. There are many questions a person should ask the production company, but the main points are the schedule, type of production, level of inconvenience, and safety. Then the liability insurance is taken care of. Once the cameras start rolling, the homeowner and friends and family are usually welcome to watch the filming, provided there is enough room. They may need to turn off loud appliances and electronics so it does not pick up on the recording equipment and pets need to be safely secured in or away from the property. With the right preparation and execution, there are many benefits to listing a home with a location management company such as Filming Locations. Home and business owners are paid substantially for the use of their property often in the tens of thousands of dollars. In addition, you may get a fresh coat of paint or new plant out of the deal. Having your home featured in a film, TV episode, or commercial will boost its resale value and reputation. Furthermore, the film crew will visit local restaurants and stores which will boost the local economy. The first step in giving your home a chance to be used in a production is getting it listed with a location management company.

Forrest McClain said it was a strange experience to see his house rearranged on the big screen, but a fun experience nonetheless: an image on their home theater’s screen still displays Sandra Bullock’s character descending the staircase. Sometimes, a director just knows a property will be right for their production. The McClains added $100,000 worth of improvements since they moved in. The Tuxedo Park neighborhood home was built in 2001; therefore it was only eight years old at the time it was used for on location filming. The McClain couple was offered $80,000 for the use of their home during the filming. This home is now on the market for $3.9 million—the family purchased an elegant and architecturally distinctive home about a mile away.

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