MACON — Day by day, the heart of downtown Macon is drawing visitors for more than restaurants’ lunch specials.
Filming for the Jackie Robinson biopic “42” drew a crowd to Third Street on Monday that grew larger as the afternoon wore on.
Debbie Lewis stopped for lunch in Macon on her way to Amelia Island for vacation and went downtown and see the action.
Lewis, originally from Macon, said she has been keeping up with coverage of the movie from her home in Decatur.
She even brought her mother, also from Macon, to see the transformation of Luther Williams Field, where, Lewis said, her mother attended baseball games as a child.
Diners at Acapulco Mexican restaurant had a prime view of the filming at lunch Monday, but the restaurant was a little emptier than usual, owner Gus Barragan said.
Barragan said he anticipated a lull in business because of street closures caused by filming, but he was looking at the bigger picture.
“I’m all for new things downtown. Even with the loss of business, it’s all good,” he said.
Barragan said he thinks the film will do well in theaters, and he thinks that will bring people downtown to see where scenes were filmed.
Shortly before lunchtime, actors were rehearsing scenes outside Blair’s Discount Store, which was transformed into a J.C. Penney store last week.
Ernie Malik, the film’s publicist, said one of the scenes filmed Monday showed Jackie Robinson, played by Chadwick Boseman, meeting legendary sportswriter Wendell Smith for the first time. Smith was a black reporter and later editor for the Pittsburgh Courier who had recommended Robinson to Dodgers President Branch Rickey before Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.