Chastity lives in Chattanooga, TN and was able to visit the WFE set near the TVRM. She writes: “Thanks for inquiring about my WFE set adventure! At first I resigned myself to just following the story online and living vicariously through other fans. Then I saw a few accounts of people visiting the set in North Georgia, and I just couldn’t help myself; I had to give it a shot! The only rule I gave myself was that I wouldn’t infringe on their personal time, but I wanted to see a piece of film making history!” Check out her photos at the end of the story. Thank you, Chastity, for sharing!
August 2, 2010 ~ I got a babysitter for Monday, and off I went with a friend. With no real information in hand regarding where to go, I went with what I’d heard online, which was that they were filming near the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. My first stop at the museum was fruitless. All train cars were gone and there wasn’t a soul there. We decided to try to find the depot at the other end of the museum’s track, which we knew was a few miles away but really didn’t know how to get there. As we got closer, we started seeing “detour” signs, which we decided must be due to the movie, so we ignored all signs and went toward the reason for the detour. We ended up finding a road blockade, manned by a police officer who was not budging. There was a subdivision right next to this blockade, however, and we could hear the train very well from there, as it was just downhill from this neighborhood’s back yards. We searched for a friendly resident to let us park our car in front of their house, but came up with nothing. We got back in the car and drove around for literal hours searching for a safe place to park and go off on a hike to get a glimpse of the filming. Finally, we were just driving down a deserted piece of road, I thought too far from their set base to see anything, and there it was…stopped on the tracks, the Benzini train, doors open on one car with three male actors in costume. Was there a camera on the other side of the tracks filming them? I have no idea. Were any of the three Robert Pattinson? I can’t say for sure on that either, but it was my first piece of WFE action, and I wanted more. This lasted maybe ten seconds, and they were then gone. We parked the car on the side of the road, and I climbed up on the tracks. I did locate a train, but alas, it was not the one I wanted. I decided it was too late, and we were not going to be allowed on the other side of that blockade, so we gave up and went home.
Later Monday, I texted a friend who seemed to be in the know, and she told me she was at the set! I dropped everything, followed her directions, and twenty minutes later I was there! There was an alternate entrance I wasn’t aware of and I got in easily this time. It was late by this point, probably 9 PM, She pointed out which trailer Rob was in and we just waited for him to show his face. He came out briefly in a black t-shirt and black pants, and despite the dark, the outdoor lights made it easy to tell it was him. Shortly after he got in a black Chevy Tahoe, rolled down his window, he waved, he smiled…and my day was complete!
August 3, 2010 ~ I considered not going back for Tuesday. I’d seen the train, I’d seen the spot where they were based for makeup and costume changes, and I’d seen one star. However, I hadn’t seen the director, and I hadn’t gotten any good daylight pictures. I had already secured a babysitter, so I decided to go. I got up at 3:45 AM, so that I could make it to the set by dawn, not knowing exactly when dawn is, I decided 5 AM was safe. A friend and I arrived to find we were the only ones there aside from two security guards who had been there overnight. We weren’t alone long though, other fans started to arrive, and shortly the crew started to arrive as well. Finally, well past dawn, Robert arrived and quickly ducked into his trailer for costume and then ducked in another trailer for makeup. In the meantime, I got a few pictures of his stunt double in street clothes and then in his costume. He was very friendly and smiled and waved at fans freely. Soon after, a police officer came over and told us Rob would be leaving in the Tahoe shortly. He told us to please not scream or squeal (there were many young girls there), that Rob doesn’t like that kind of thing and it would make him more comfortable if that didn’t happen. He also told us that after having been in makeup for an hour, Rob would not be rolling down his window. He did get in the Tahoe to leave for filming, and while we could see exactly where they went from where we were standing, forest blocked all view, and no one was allowed near the tracks. When I asked a police officer if there was anywhere we could go to get a look at the filming, he said that at this location there really was not, and he said they’d been arresting people for trespassing. He also said there had been a person jump on the tracks the day before and that filming had had to be halted, which apparently costs production a lot of money. I didn’t want to be THAT fan, so I went off on my quest again, not really knowing what I where I was going or what I would do.
Eventually I found the train again; it was again far down the road and while I didn’t see any actors this time I did get several pictures of the train. I decided to head back to the homebase set and when I did they were paving the road and were not letting anyone through! I went back to the other end of the road where the officer was blocking it, and of course, he wouldn’t let me through either. I thought this was it for me, and then I realized I could see the black Tahoe very well from where I was talking to the cop. I figured they had to come out sometime, so we stood there alone with no other fans aware of how good a spot this was and waited. It wasn’t ten minutes before I spot Rob coming off the set after filming his very last scene for WFE. I snapped a picture, and honestly, I don’t think he was even aware we were there.
We hightailed it back to the other end of the road in hopes that the road pavers were finished. They were not. However, when I indicated I was going to park my car right there and the road worker indicated it wasn’t the best neighborhood for that…he let me through anyway. I arrived back at set just in time to see Rob leave his trailer and get in the Tahoe to leave for the day. He didn’t roll down his window like he had the night before (he seemed so much more at ease in the dark the night before), but I already had my pictures of him, and was just happy to have had the experience. The only thing I’m bummed about is that I didn’t get to see Francis Lawrence. I don’t know where he was hiding but I didn’t get even a single glimpse of him. He said in interview that he would love to come back to the area, and whether that was a just a pleasantry or not I can’t be sure, but if he ever comes back to film near here again, I’ll be there!