News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, Nov. 20, 2015
CLARKS HILL, S.C. (WRDW) -- Chances are you've heard of the Hunger Games series, but you might not know the Augusta area has a part in it.
"It's one of those things it's heavily digitized, but you can very clearly see Thurmond Dam," Scott Hyatt with the Army Corps of Engineers said.
The opening scene in one of the trailers is a sweeping aerial shot of the dam just up the river.
"Generally when you're watching the movie you'll see everything from the top of the dam down is pretty much as it is," Hyatt said.
When you see the face of the dam, you'll notice virtually nothing has changed. Everything around it, though, is all virtual.
In the background, there's an industrial looking city. In the movie, that's Capitol City. In real life, that's Lincoln and McCormick Counties, which is mostly lake and woods.
"You see the great big city in the background. We're joking, oh, that's probably what Clark's Hill will look like in about 300 years," Hyatt said.
In the past, we've had red carpet film debuts. Cue James Brown's inspired movie "Get On Up."
We've also hosted smaller film crews around town, like the crew that shot a horror movie at Sacred Heart.
But now, we're on the silver screen for the whole world to see in a film series that's already more than $400 million dollars, and that's just for one sequel.
"There's a major scene in Mockingjay Part 1 where they go into District 5 and they blow up a dam," Hyatt describes. "They took some shots from an airplane of the face of the dam with the gates closed, and they came back in and digitized it and made it look like they're open and there's water rushing out of them."
That's not our only cameo. Remember seeing the train cross over water and go into a tunnel? That's also Thurmond Dam, but in real life, there are no train tracks. It's the road over the dam.
"Of course, there's no train tracks running across the dam. You can see the train in several scenes going across the top and then into a tunnel on the far side. That was added, an that tunnel would sit about where our Visitor Center would sit now," Hyatt said.
You'll see some of the same in the newest sequel Mockingjay Part 2, released this Friday.
Most fans had no idea what they were seeing.
When asked if moviegoer Cody Woods had noticed anything familiar, he said, "I really haven't, but now that you mention it I'm going to pay attention in the movie."
When News 12 asked Justin Brown, who had just seen the movie, if he knew part of the movie was filmed in Augusta, he simply said, "No, I did not know that."
But, now that they do, Woods says "I'm probably gonna nudge my little brother and be like, hey buddy, that's our dam!"
Most of the filming happened back in May 2014. Crews were here one other time before that, but the Corps says each time it only took a day to shoot what they needed.
Film crews snuck in and out without any one really noticing, except the Corps of Engineers and the DOT because that's who they had to get permits from to shoot out there.
Now, the only burning question left is: If film crews were here, was Jennifer Lawrence here, too?
No, unfortunately not.
Only airplanes to get the aerial shots and extras were on set.
But now, eyes all over the world will see they've been here.