Writer and director Andy Tennant hails from the Midwest, so visiting the South is a refreshing change of pace.
While visiting Atlanta, Georgia he came to appreciate the city’s colourful, rich history and personable way of life. In fact, when rewriting his comedy Sweet Home Alabama starring acclaimed Reese Witherspoon, Tennant arrived in Atlanta and first noted, “I was immediately struck by how cool it was.”
A city steeped in history and culture
That’s not all. The director fell in love with Atlanta’s culture, architecture, food, strong musical inclinations and friendly nature. He also praised its charming, multicultural residents. “They were really into music, they were steeped in a culture that I was always fascinated with,” he says. You can see this Southern influence and good-natured locals in Sweet Home Alabama.
I was immediately struck by how cool of a city it was
As a writer, Tennant describes travelling around a city like Atlanta as “the ability not to just visit a place, but to live there,” while uncovering its little treasures and secrets. It’s easy to see why Tennant reveres Atlanta, which he notes, is a place with strong community ties and where you “make friends for life.” For Tennant, driving through the small towns built in the 1940s and 1950s projected a pure cinematic aesthetic of old “brick and mortar buildings with faded Coca-Cola hand-painted signs.”
The director gained an appreciation after learning about Atlanta’s rich history, including its destruction and rebuilding after the Civil War leading up to the thriving industry that now exists – from news network CNN to the Coca-Cola Company. In northern Atlanta, Tennant praises the walkable, commercial area of Buckhead for its thriving restaurant scene and he loves the spectacular Botanical Gardens.
Tennant often returns to the South. It’s a place he likes to call home. Just outside of Rome, Georgia, he proudly admits, “I have a favourite writing place there called Barnsley Gardens. It’s like its own village… I know every time I go back to Georgia that I’m going to meet some really interesting, chatty people,” he happily notes.
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