By JENNIFER J. HOWARD
As fate would have it, an upcoming film starring Lee Majors, Philip Michael Thomas and Michael Pare will seem very familiar to Alpharetta folks. For the last month, the Alpha Film Group has been shooting the psychological thriller "Fate,” about a serial killer (Majors) and the two detectives (Thomas and Pare) who must hunt him down. Majors plays a school janitor turned killer who the takes the two detectives on an enigmatic hunt throughout Alpharetta and North Georgia.
Crews filmed on Canton Street, Bethany Road, Locos Deli and Pub and at the Alpharetta Police Station, among other locations.
Part of the movie "Fate” takes place in Dahlonega in an abandoned gold mine, just as it was written in the script by Ash Smith, a Cumming resident who attended Georgia State’s film school. "I live here and we’ve got some local people as investors,” said Ray Guthrie, president of Alpha Film Group. "The movie business you can do anywhere. You don’t have to do it in Los Angeles.” Many of the films Guthrie has produced in the last six years were filmed in the area, including "Atlanta Blue” and "Paranoid.” He also filmed "Outlaw Profit,” in Nashville. "It’s not just a straight ahead police movie,” Guthrie said. "There are a lot of turns and subplots.”
Guthrie’s history in the entertainment business stretches back before the inception of the Alpha Film Group. He has owned and operated Peachtree Rides, a carnival business, in the metro area for 35 years. Securing Lee Major’s help with the movie wasn’t difficult for Guthrie since they grew up a city block from one another in Middlesboro, Ky. They played football under the same high school coach. "He’s here to help an old hometown friend and because he believes it’s a really good script,” Guthrie said.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The (GA)
December 12, 2002
Section: North Fulton
Edition: Home; The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
No need for L.A.
Filmmaker says all ingredients here
DON FERNANDEZ; Staff
Tubbs is looking tired. And a bit cold in the Crabapple woods.
Philip Michael Thomas, famed for co-starring in TV's "Miami Vice," stands in a patch of damp leaves watching Eddie from "Eddie and the Cruisers" -- actor Michael Pare -- dart across the forest with a pistol. The target of their hunt is none other than the "The Six Million Dollar Man" Lee Majors.
What could possibly corral this where-are-they-now celebrity crew to the edge of north Fulton County?
"Fate," a $2 million film that began shooting throughout Alpharetta and nearby locations nearly a month ago. Thomas and Pare play cops on the hunt for serial killer Majors.
The real story, though, is a local producer who's turning the landscape into a breeding ground for low-budget films.
"There's a lot of good, quality crew here," said Ray Guthrie, president of Alpharetta-based Alpha Film Group. "You have mountains, a big city. There is no real reason to go to L.A. It's more cost effective here."
Guthrie, who was in the carnival business for 35 years, has been producing, distributing and selling films globally for six years.
"Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be working on movies," he said.
His passion is now a bit of a boon for the local economy. Guthrie estimates that 60 percent of the film's budget is being poured into local businesses.
Merchants aren't the only ones lending a hand.
Filming recently took place inside the Alpharetta Police Department complex, said Sgt. Chris Lagerbloom, the department's spokesman. "They did some shooting in our non-administrative building in our communications center area," said Lagerbloom.
The department has also tried to help production crews and residents smoothly coexist.
Apparently, production trucks and vans have troubled residents during production. But for the most part, the community has been cooperative.
"This is my first film where everything has gone smoothly," said director Ace Cruz, who previously helmed such titles as "Psychotic" and "Urban Task Force," according to the Internet Movie Database. "There's been a lot of support from Alpharetta, the hospital, police and paramedics."
The film is also giving a shot to aspiring entertainment types.
Keith Walker of Flowery Branch sells cars as a full-time job. On the set of "Fate," he's in costume as a police officer. He's also an associate producer on the project.
"I'm ready for the next one," he said, phoning a friend in an attempt to secure a police car for another scene.
He won't have long to wait for his next celluloid adventure.
Guthrie has at least two more films in the works that are set in north Fulton. In April, he'll shoot "Run," the tale of a retired hit man fleeing from the mafia.
He plans to, in about a year, produce a film about a "terrorist carnival."
Meanwhile, "Fate" must be finished. Two main characters, Pare and Thomas, are former partners reunited by Majors' killing spree. Guthrie calls it a "psychological thriller" with a "big twist at the end" that he wouldn't reveal.
Pare polishes off his scene chasing Majors' stunt double through the woods. Majors, whom Guthrie said had a bad knee, stayed away from the main set. The former Steve Austin typically refuses interviews until day's end.
Inside a nearby home, an actor gets prepped for his small but memorable role as a burned-up corpse, apparently part of Majors' body count.
When shooting wraps on "Fate" for the day, the crew will head to a gold mine in Dahlonega for a scene where Majors terrorizes the two cops.
"You can't find a gold mine in Encino, Calif.," Guthrie said.