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45 Things to Love About Alabama: The Town of Spectre from “Big Fish”

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Once again, Hollywood looks to the beauty of Alabama to tell a story.

Who: The still standing movie set built to represent the fictional town of Spectre from 2003 movie “Big Fish”.

What: Director Tim Burton’s “Big Fish” is a fantasy drama in the tone of a Southern Gothic based on the 1998 novel of the same name written by Birmingham native Daniel Wallace. The story stars Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney as the same character in different stages of life. The film is centered around a mystical town of Spectre. A small private island in a chute of the Alabama River was chosen as the location. The buildings are still standing and the site is open to the public for $3 a head during daylight hours.

Where: Cypress Ln, Millbrook, AL 36054, just north of Montgomery.

When: Principal photography for the film began in January 2003, mostly in Wetumpka and Montgomery.

Why: If you are a big fan of the movie and Tim Burton, this is a must-visit. The director made a concerted effort to limit the use of digital effects instead opting for the beauty of the surroundings to tell the story. The buildings are not quite as sparkling as they once were but it’s not everyday when one can visit a ficticious place seen in a movie.

Apparently, camping ($10) and fishing are allowed. Also of note is that the island is occupied by several goats, who by all reports are friendly.

[LOL Side Note: Scenes at Auburn University were originally supposed to be shot on location on the campus. However, AU school officials asked for script approval and the production team told them to take a hike. Filming was done at Huntingdon College instead.]