The beauty of Coastal Georgia is undeniable. The rivers, marshes and moss draped oaks attract people from near and far hoping to experience the magic of the Lowcountry, including Hollywood!
It’s lights, camera, action in the Peach State and the movie industry is booming, opening up some pretty incredible opportunities for locals to join the casts of productions happening in and around Savannah. Richmond Hill resident, Amanda Alvarez, and her 10-year-old daughter, Ava, have been bitten by the acting bug!
When Amanda heard about a local casting agent looking for talent, she wasted no time signing Ava up! “Ava is really confident and I knew she would have no reservations about being in front of a camera,” says her proud Mama. At the time, Amanda was serving full time in the Air National Guard, but was nearing retirement and thought it would be a fun and unique hobby for them both, so she signed herself up for hire as well.
Not too long after, Amanda saw the casting call for a 7-to-9-year-old for the role of “Hannah” on AMC’s wildly popular zombie drama, Fear The Walking Dead. Ava was required to submit some photos and an audition video. She had to introduce herself and perform a minute-long zombie walk. As luck would have it, the director loved her personality. She was immediately impressed with her going from her “friendly little girl” introduction to her “blank face zombie” persona so seamlessly. She was cast the very next day!
Ava filmed for three days in August 2022 in Savannah and Richmond Hill, receiving all of the star treatment one would expect. She had her own trailer, and in accordance with Georgia’s Child Labor Laws, had a tutor on set. Amanda says she was a trooper when it came to the make-up “because it took an hour and 45 minutes every day to apply.” Ava managed to hold her own with a cast and crew of seasoned adults and was truly a celebrity on set. “It’s really cool to watch the episodes on television and see all of the familiar landscape. Ava filmed at Redbird Creek, the Savannah Train Museum and other scenes were shot at Fort Pulaski,” says Amanda.
Ava has gone on to appear in various movies as an extra since August of 2022. And, let’s not forget Mom! After serving 26 years in the military, Amanda retired and made her acting debut, appearing in several movies, including May December, Origins and Clean Slate. Both she and Ava were honored to be on the set of the new Clint Eastwood movie filming in Downtown Savannah, Juror #2.
If you’ve driven up and down Highway 144 in the last couple of weeks, you may have seen signs that said “paper planes.” I got the inside scoop from Amanda, who tells me that was a reference to the set of the comedy Bride Hard, being filmed nearby with some scenes right here in The Hill. Amanda was lucky enough to be an extra in this movie, starring none other than Rebel Wilson. Getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the movie making process has been quite an experience for the mother / daughter duo. Amanda says even when you’re just waiting around there’s so much to see and it’s very cool to get a glimpse of the stars and starlets and the enormity of the process.
Both of the Alvarez girls look forward to continued filming opportunities in and around the Lowcountry, so keep an eye out for them on the big and small screens!
Okay, that’s a wrap! See you at the movies…