Liam Neeson’s action thriller “Taken 3" has taken its business to Georgia, adding to the Peach State’s growing list of Hollywood credits.
The production recently wrapped 17 days of filming in the Los Angeles area, capturing scenes at the Malibu Pier, the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona, downtown Los Angeles and the 710 Freeway, which was shut down to film a car chase, according to film permits.
Last week, however, the movie moved to Atlanta to begin three weeks of filming. Atlanta will stand in for Los Angeles, said a person involved in the project who was not authorized to comment.
French-based producers of the film, set to be released by 20th Century Fox Studios next year, are taking advantage of Georgia’s film incentives, which are among the most generous in the country. In Georgia, filmmakers can recoup as much as 30% of their production costs, including salaries for crew members and actors.
“Taken 3" is the latest in a flurry of high-profile projects that Georgia has landed since the state beefed up its transferable tax credit program in 2008.
The state had a record level of film investment in the fiscal year that ended June 30. There were 142 films and television projects spending $934 million there, up from $880 million the prior year, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
Other movies currently filming in Georgia include Columbia Pictures’ “Goosebumps” with Jack Black and “Fast & Furious 7,” which has resumed production after star Paul Walker was killed in a car crash in Valencia last year. Lionsgate recently wrapped “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay” (Parts 1 and 2) in Georgia.
It’s not the first time Georgia has played California. In last year’s Fox comedy “The Internship,” starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, Georgia Tech passed for Google’s Northern California headquarters.
After filming in Atlanta, “Taken 3" will move the production to Europe, filming most of the remaining 26 days on a sound stage in Paris. The producer is French film producer EuropaCorp.
“Taken 3" was highlighted in a recent report by FilmL.A. on the flight of movie production from Los Angeles. The report found that California’s share of the top 25 live-action films dropped to 8% in 2013, down from 64% 15 years ago, as more work fled to Louisiana, Canada, Georgia and other locales. Georgia had 13 top-grossing films in 2012, up from three in 1997.
“Taken,” about a retired CIA agent who rescues his daughter after she is kidnapped while on a trip to Paris, became a surprise hit when it debuted in 2008. The third movie, also starring Maggie Grace and Forest Whitaker, has employed a cast and crew of about 200 people in Los Angeles, including a large contingent of stunt performers and special effects workers.