Shooting in South Los Angeles for Beauty Shop
Beauty Shop takes place in the city of Atlanta, where catfish and greens are sold in street carts and the southern socialites go to Gina’s hair salon in the spinoff from the Barbershop movies. However, the film only shot one week on location in Atlanta and recreated the location in a Van Nuys studio for the majority of the shoot.
The only actors who worked in Atlanta were Queen Latifah, Djimon Hounsou and Alicia Silverstone. Hounsou appreciated the chance to experience the real location. “It was nice to be in Atlanta,” he said. “That was my first time going to Atlanta and there are so many beautiful sisters there. It was on the weekend too, so that particular street in which we shot the scene, it was packed with people. People walking and driving by with their car music blaring. It was just like a feast on the world. It was so much fun.”
That experience allowed him to apply the proper mood to the Van Nuys shoot. “Thank God we shot that, so we didn’t really have to have a culture shock.”
Silverstone only worked in Atlanta for one day, so only gleaned the superficial qualities of the city. “It was hot in Van Nuys which was very similar to how it was supposed to be in Georgia,” she said. “I was only in Atlanta for one day shooting and that was hot too. I was there for one day, I couldn’t even compare it.”
Latifah chose to set her spinoff in Atlanta “because it's warmer than in Chicago and it was the wintertime.” She said, “I really didn't want to shoot in the winter in Chicago, honestly. Come on. I was like, 'We've got to move this to some place warm.'”
A few other cities were discussed, but Atlanta was the most familiar. Latifah continued, “The boys wanted Miami and I'm like, 'Look guys, we can't shoot in Miami. There is no way we can shoot in Miami right now. We might have too much fun and not get a movie done in Miami. Lets not go quite so far south.' Atlanta, we know Atlanta. [Director] Bille [Woodruff] knows Atlanta. He lived there for three years, and we felt like he could kind of pick up the vibe of Atlanta. Keshia is from Atlanta. We spent a lot of time in Atlanta. At least a couple of times a year we're down there for like the past 15 or so years. So Atlanta is a place that has a lot of rich musical culture. It's got it's own kind of flavor, it's own thing going on and we felt like this was a place where if we did do Beauty Shop and Beauty Shop 2 and 3, this is a place that it could happen because there's plenty to draw from locally. So we thought it would be kind of cool.”
Woodruff explained why the studio ruled out a lengthy location shoot. “It was just a budget thing that they decided to do,” he said. “Once they started running the numbers, it was a decision with the studio with the budget that it was more cost effective for us to do the bulk of it here in LA. I guess because of the cast and a bunch of different reasons. I was very excited about shooting it in Atlanta just because of different extras, just people that would be there in the background who would come into the shot.”
Those actresses unfamiliar with Atlanta asked Keshia Knight Pulliam questions about the city. “I was the in house Atlanta consultant,” Pulliam said. “I know one scene, they were like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to the Piggly Wiggly on MLK.’ I had to pull Bille aside. I said, ‘Bille, there is no Piggly Wiggly on MLK. You have got to figure out where the Piggly Wiggly is if there is one. There’s a Kroger. You need to make sure that’s right because people who know will sit there and be like, “What are you talking about?”’”
Beauty Shop opens Wednesday.
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