DeKalb County takes center stage in “The Wonder Years” reboot

September 23, 20214min4720
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DEKALB, GA—Fans of the popular 1980s series, “The Wonder Years,” will see several familiar DeKalb County sites when the reboot airs today(Sept. 22 on ABC. The coming-of-age family comedy will feature a Black family in the deep South – a vast contrast from the Fred Savage-led original. With Georgia’s enticing film and production tax credits, producers and show runners took full advantage of reimaging some of DeKalb’s historic neighborhoods, landmark buildings, and sprawling greenspaces to reboot this beloved classic.

“DeKalb has been booming with major productions that range from major theatre blockbusters to captivating independent productions and everything in between,” said Shelbia Jackson, director of DeKalb Entertainment Commission. “DeKalb’s diverse landscape offers production companies with a range of options that mimic the high-pace environment of a bustling city to the retro feel viewers will experience with this iteration of “The Wonder Years” series. Adding Georgia’s industry-focused incentives only expands its appeal, further solidifying the state as the top production hub in the nation.”

A recent report issued by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) forecasts a growing and thriving film and television industry in DeKalb County. The economic analysis and industry-specific report leverages data obtained from 2018 and projects the booming industry’s trajectory as it relates to job opportunities, economic impact, and other key metrics. The five-year snapshot highlights $1.377 billion in economic output from television productions exclusively.

Local production professionals echo Jackson’s sentiments about DeKalb as Stone Mountain’s Eagle Rock served as the studio for many of the productions sets and scenery. Girly Daniels, the location coordinator for “The Wonder Years” reboot, occupied office space at Eagle Rock Studios while managing administrative duties and on-set activities. “I travel where the productions take me, and I can honestly say there is something very unique and special about DeKalb,” said Daniels. “It’s the people, the neighborhoods, even the businesses we worked with —we found almost everything we needed here.”

The nostalgic comedy will focus on the life of a middle-class family through the eyes of Dean, a 12-year- old played by Elisha Williams. With issues including bullying, relationships and Civil Rights, DeKalb became the perfect backdrop to recreate a historic Southern city. Korey Washington served as the pilot production designer and established the tone and vision for the series. “After reading Saladin’s script, I knew DeKalb County, with its engaging four-sided brick homes and charming parks and neighborhoods, would be an ode to our Southern community,” Washington said.

The series, also starring Don Cheadle, Dule Hill and Saycon Sengbloh, premieres Sept. 22 at 8:30 p.m.

Following is a partial list of DeKalb County site locations in The Wonder Years Reboot:

  • Lithonia Main Street, 6976 Main St., Lithonia
  • Peachtree Baptist Church, 2108 Briarcliff Rd. NE Atlanta
  • Medlock Park, 874 Gaylemont Circle, Decatur
  • City of Decatur Legacy Park (former UMC Children’s Home) 500 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur
  • Antioch Baptist Church, 2152 Rock Chapel Rd., Lithonia
  • St Bartholomew’s Baptist Church, 1790 Lavista Rd., Tucker
  • Bridgepoint Church 1995 Clairmont Rd., Tucker
  • Clairmont Presbyterian Church, 1994 Clairmont Rd. NE, Atlanta
  • Mountain West Church, 4818 Hugh Howell Rd., Stone Mountain
  • Columbia Theology Seminary, S Columbia Drive, Decatur
  • Eagle Rock Studios, 1375 Beverage Drive, Stone Mountain (Production Offices)

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