Staff Photo: Erin Evans. The "American Pie" series movie "American Reunion" is filming in the Newton High School gym this week. Pictured above, from left, are stars of the film, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Chris Klein and Eddie Kaye Thomas, who were part of the original movie in 1999.
COVINGTON -- Newton High School was transformed into East Great Falls High School this week.
Cast and crew members from "American Reunion," which is part of the "American Pie" series that began in 1999, made their way to Covington this week to film scenes for the film, which is expected to be released in April 2012.
"Everything is filmed here in Georgia," producer Craig Perry said. "We're here because of the economic incentives."
Georgia has offered tax incentives to film productions that choose to use the state as a backdrop in their movies. Already Covington has been used as filming locations for the "Vampire Diaries" television series and a remake of the movie "Footloose."
"It's a little warmer than we're used to, but they don't call it the South for nothing," Perry said.
Still, he said a lot of the cast and crew especially have enjoyed the variety of restaurants that Atlanta has to offer.
Perry said the production has tried to use as many local vendors as possible.
"If you can, it makes it easier," he said, adding that a bakery in Monroe provided desserts for the prom scene filmed at Newton High School this week.
On the film side, he said the crew was fortunate enough to find locations, especially in Covington and Druid Hills, that could be duplicated as areas that were filmed in Los Angeles in the first film and was set in Michigan. Crews also have filmed scenes in Conyers and Monroe earlier this summer.
"We were able to duplicate the feel of the original locations," Perry said. "No one will know, and they won't stick out."
Perry, who worked on the previous three "American Pie" theatrical movies as well as the "Final Destination" series, said this film in many ways has a similar tone to the original movie. He said there's no big revelation in the movie -- it's just about life.
"It ain't 'Transformers,'" he said.
All of the major cast members -- Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas and Eddie Kaye Thomas -- have returned for the film, as did as many of the supporting cast members, like Alyson Hannigan, Shannon Elizabeth, Mena Suvari, Tara Reid and even Jennifer Coolidge as Stifler's mom and Eugene Levy as Jim's dad.
"One of the great things about 'American Reunion' is seeing the original cast get back together," Perry said. "The nostalgia I feel seeing them together again, I hope the audience will feel when seeing them together."
Perry said although many of the characters have grown up and have different lives than they did in high school, many of them have remained the same type of people with a new perspective of 13 years.
"When you get with your friends from high school, you act like idiots," Perry said. "All it takes is three minutes to get back to where you were. That's life."
Perry doesn't know if this film will be the last time the cast is together again. After all, the last "American Pie" film, "American Wedding," was released in 2003.
"Never say never," Perry said. "There are at least two more generations that could come from this franchise."
Reunion Committee LLC paid the Newton County School System $10,000 for use of the school for most of this month.