Historic McDonough shines in quirky “Krystal”

Rosario Dawson plays the title role in “Krystal.” Photo: Josh Stringer, courtesy of Great Point Media/Paladin

As quirky independent films go, “Krystal” has to be one of the quirkiest.

Taylor (Nick Robinson) has heart trouble but not a drinking problem, although he feigns one to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings with the former stripper he’s in love with, the title character played by Rosario Dawson.

The American Legion post not far from the McDonough square is where AA meeting scenes were filmed. Photo: Jennifer Brett

This being a small town, Taylor’s boss Vera (Kathy Bates) is also an AA regular who volunteers as his sponsor, unaware of why he’s really there. Meanwhile Krystal’s tough-guy ex, Willie (Clifford “T.I.” Harris) shows up at all the wrong times while biker hunk Bo (Rick Fox) threatens to turn her head to Taylor’s chagrin.

Taylor’s parents Wyatt and Poppy (William H. Macy and his wife, Felicity Huffman) are utter kooks. The town doctor he winds up seeing following one mishap after another (William Fichtner) has no business around controlled substances, much less patients.

The only one really sure of how he feels about things seems to be Krystal’s son Bobby (Jacob Latimore). Disabled due to an accident and forever in trouble at school, Bobby has tricked out his wheelchair so it operates like a high-powered battering ram. Oh, and then there are the cartoon demons that pop up now and again.

“Imagine trying to pitch that to a financier,” chuckled Macy, who also directed, in an interview. We visited the set while the movie was filming; here’s our interview from that day:

It took 12 years to bring this Southern Gothic comedic farce to the big screen, but the journey gave him time to hone his directorial eye.

“We were at the altar three different times and the money fell through,” he said. “I did two other films before I did ‘Krystal,’ and I’m glad I did. It’s more fun than I’ve ever had in front of a camera. I love mixing farce with tragedy. That’s my bag.”

Nick Robinson and Kathy Bates in a scene from “Krystal.”

You can watch the trailer here.

The movie, which was filmed mostly on and around the historic McDonough town square (that’s “Mac-Donna,” according to the natives we consulted), opens Friday. Downtown merchants should be thrilled with the exposure as spots like Gritz Family Restaurant show up prominently.

“William H. Macy was here eating lunch every day” during the filming, said Kim Lee, who’s waitressed there for 17 years. “Rosario Dawson was super nice. It was awesome.”

Waitress Kim Lee enjoyed meeting the stars of “Krystal.” Photo: Jennifer Brett

Courtney Whitman, manager of the city’s Main Street Program, said folks had fun watching the filming process.

“It was amazing to see the stars,” she said. “It was great to have them film in our downtown district.”

“Krystal” was headquartered out of Pinewood Studios in Fayette County, usually known for huge blockbusters such as the upcoming “Avengers: Infinity War” and partnered with the Georgia Film Academy, right across the street from Pinewood. The credits list the following film academy students as having interned on the movie: Brian D. Aycock, Cesar Barona, Amanda L. Clements, Drica Dennis, Whitney Ellison, Kathy Estrada, Matthew Estrada, Brian Gabriel, Madeline Grayson, Philip Hall, Randy R. Martinez, Roger Sisk, Richard B. Weller, Sunshine Yarbrough, Alexis Zachary, Bertram Miller, Van McInish and Cindy Howe.

“They were so excited to be there,” Macy said of all the industry newcomers. “This was an unmitigated joy.”

The downtown McDonough Square is featured prominently in “Krystal,” in theaters Friday. Photo: Jennifer Brett

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