The location scout for an action-adventure film shooting said the school being used for a big tornado scene in the film is just right for the part.
Tom Moisides said he was searching for a school that was set off by itself — just like , the Lake Orion school surrounded by woods on the rural Lake George Road.
The movie, known as "Untitled Tornado Project" at this point, stars teen star Nathan Kress of iCarly fame, Sarah Wayne Callies of The Walking Dead, and Richard Armitage of the upcoming Hobbit movie. The film has wrapped up filming at the school, though the official tear-down of the set isn't planned until Monday.
That set includes a mangled school bus, crashed cars, downed trees and other evidence of a tornado that strikes the school during its graduation ceremony.
"We were looking for a newer school, and for something that could cheat as a high school, because we knew high schools would be too busy right now," said Moisides, the Pontiac-based locations manager whose movie credits include Michigan-made movies Real Steel and Red Dawn.
"This really worked out well — it was fortuitous," he said.
John Fitzgerald, assistant superintendent of business and finance for Lake Orion Community Schools, said the school district received rental fees from Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema for use of the school over the past week.
And while Fitzgerald himself did not volunteer as an "extra" for the film, he said many Lake Orion students had extra parts.
"It's been kind of cool to be able to see how movie-making works, and it's good for Lake Orion," Fitzgerald said.
Next up, the movie is filming at Oakland University in Rochester, where Moisides said the crew is busy turning a parking lot into a used car lot for the movie. They will also film at a house in Pontiac, at a hotel in Auburn Hills and in an area near Lapeer and Dutton roads in Orion Township.
As they finish up at Oakview, Moisides thanks school administrators.
"They've been very gracious and generous and all-around easy to work with," he said.
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