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Hospital system site of several Hollywood films

Photo by Tori Boone

Photo by Tori Boone

DULUTH -- The Gwinnett Medical hospital system has found a new source of income in recent months -- Hollywood.

Gwinnett Medical Center's Duluth campus will be starring in a movie that was filmed there this spring, the second time Warner Brothers has used a GMC hospital for shooting in the last six months.

A third, separate project is also in the works for June.

Over the course of several days this spring, GMC-Duluth was transformed into Falmouth Medical Center for its role in the Farrelly brothers flick "Hall Pass," which features Owen Wilson and Jenna Fischer from "The Office."

In the fall, GMC's flagship campus in Lawrenceville was used during shooting of an upcoming Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. film dubbed "Due Date."

A project with director and producer Tyler Perry is also "in the works" for an unused section of GMC's Glancy Rehabilitation Center, hospital spokeswoman Andrea Wehrmann said.

"Patients, visitors, physicians and staff all enjoyed getting the behind the scenes look of how a scene is filmed for a movie," GMC-Duluth administrator Lea Bay said. "The film crew was great to work with and made it their priority to make sure the set up and filming did not negatively impact our primary mission here at GMC-Duluth, which is high-quality patient care."

Worry not -- safety protocols and health information privacy requirements were followed during shooting of both comedies.

But the process wasn't easy.

Wehrmann said that during the filming of "Hall Pass" in Duluth, Warner Brothers' 170-person crew was given a "couple of days" to set up, shot overnight on consecutive nights, then got "a couple more days" to clear out.

The process was longer in Lawrenceville -- roughly three months to set up, then a hectic day of shooting on the very same day the campus opened up its brand new tower.

"We looked into many locations and decided on Gwinnett Medical Center-Duluth for its great look and the willingness to allow us to film under very careful and very cooperative guidelines," Warner Brothers location manager Maida Morgan said of the shooting of "Hall Pass."

The demand for hospital scenes is a frequent one for filmmakers, and Wehrmann said GMC has turned down several proposals in the past, wanting to "put patient care first."

But thanks to new legislation, filmmakers now get a 30 percent tax cut to produce their work in Georgia, and more and more offers were coming in. That, Wehrmann said, sparked GMC's newfound relationship with Warner Brothers and the film industry.

It's not without benefit for the hospital system either. Wehrmann estimated that between the two films, GMC earned $27,500 to be used for general funds.

"It's really just a nice extra padding and a new business development opportunity to us," Wehrmann said. "Whether it goes to new technology, patient care or availability for more staff."

"Hall Pass" is tentatively scheduled for a February 2011 release, with "Due Date" slated to open this November.