The light-hearted film Sweet Home Alabama was filmed in Covington in 2002, featuring Reese Witherspoon as the main character Melanie Carmichael, along with Josh Lucas as Jake, Patrick Dempsey as Andrew Hennings, Candice Bergen as Kate Hennings, and Seven-year old Dakota Fanning as Melanie’s younger self.
In an interview, Reese Witherspoon says,
“Sometimes when you get Hollywood movies about Southern people, they’re about the funny things we think about Southern people….. “
‘…But this movie really represents the Southern values that you respect.’
Talking about her character, Melanie, who wanted to get away from her past to carve out a new life for herself.
Reese says, “ I like that idea – a young person being a little bit embarrassed of where they’re from… but then learning to accept that it’s all right … everybody’s from somewhere… we all have a little bit of our hometown in us, or our heritage.”
In one of the movie’s most poignant scenes, Dakota Fanning’s character (the childhood Melanie) says: “Why’d you want to marry me for anyhow?”
Her friend replies “So I can kiss you anytime I want.”
In a Tonight Show interview, young Dakota candidly explained, “Beforehand I was, really, really nervous because I’d never kissed a boy before and it was on the lips … But then I kinda got used to it and it was kinda fun, after a while.” The audience responded with understanding laughter.
A highly popular scene from the movie is the one with the civil war re-enactment, which was shot at the nearby Conyers Georgia International Horse Park.
Melanie arrives in town to get a divorce, and is looking for her father, an enthusiastic civil war buff. She goes to a field where hundreds of people are in the middle of a re-enactment – with full uniforms, horses, and cannons. Melanie hollers for her dad. An entire regiment of fallen soldiers comes back to life for her. One jumps up and answers, “He’s about to surrender”, then they all fall back down “dead”.
Overall, this film is a classic. If there is a movie you and your family all want to get enjoyment out of, check out, Sweet Home Alabama filmed right in Newton County!