Making of ‘Tammy’ brought a ‘swarm’ of activity to region

Tammy

People line up outside the Mayfaire Stadium 16 movie theater for some of the first Wilmington screenings of Tammy in Wilmington.

Staff Photo By Matt Born/ Wilmington StarNews
Published: Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 11:56 AM.

Sal Rubio sat on the sidelines last May and watched as his Shallotte restaurant, The Grille, was emptied from the kitchen to the dining area.

The exodus took only about four hours. It was the next step, however, that proved far more daunting.

With the help of film production crews, Rubio’s restaurant was transformed into a TopperJacks, the fictional fast food chain at the center of the locally filmed Melissa McCarthy comedy “Tammy,” which hits theaters Wednesday. Making its way around the region, the 37-day production, which spent more than $14 million in the state last summer, incorporated some 50 locations, a couple thousand background extras and the efforts of roughly 150 local film workers.

Described to Rubio as “swarm of bees,” film crews descended upon on the restaurant just days prior to the May 31 film date to start prepping the shoot, which involved bringing in new equipment, putting a TopperJacks roof on the building, posting up TopperJack signs inside and out, and adding a fresh coat of paint — TopperJack’s signature red and yellow — to The Grille.

The finished product, which was first showcased in the film’s teaser trailer and appears on the film’s poster alongside McCarthy, is just one of the local places that dot the production’s map.

The film opens in Ohio and follows the misadventures of McCarthy’s Tammy, a TopperJacks employee who takes a road trip with her boozy grandmother, Pearl (Susan Sarandon), after losing her job and walking out on her philandering husband. With low inhibitions and no sense of direction, the mismatched pair quickly find themselves in a heap of hilarious trouble that crosses state lines. Kathy Bates, Allison Janney, Toni Collette, Dan Aykroyd, Sandra Oh and Gary Cole costar.

McCarthy also co-wrote and produced the film with her husband Ben Falcone, who directed.



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