When Michelle Manning, executive producer of Disney Channel’s upcoming TV series "Andi Mack," arrived in Magna, Utah, she had a goal of transforming Main Street into a kid-friendly, cool place that every young person would want to come hang out at. With the wrapping up the filming of season one, she feels they’ve accomplished that.
“Andi Mack” is a coming-of-age TV series scheduled for release in 2017 that was created by Terri Minsky, creator of former Disney Channel TV series “Lizzie McGuire.” It follows a 13-year-old girl named Andi Mack and the daily adventures of her and her two best friends, Cyrus and Buffy.
Manning told the Deseret News in an on-set interview that Minsky wanted to come back to Disney Channel and create another successful show for them.
“She has such an amazing voice for young people, which is why I think ‘Lizzie McGuire’ was such a success,” Manning said.
With Minsky busy writing during much of the production, Manning has been on set taking care of the day-to-day side of things. Shooting “Andi Mack” has been her first experience filming in Utah, and she said that she’s been very impressed with the state and the people.
“Here they make you feel like they don’t ever shoot anything here and they shoot so much here,” Manning said. “Everybody — the extras, the neighborhood, the people — are so welcoming and inviting and so happy to have you that the show would never look as good if we had shot it in LA.”
While the show has shot in several locations in and around the Salt Lake area, they were especially attracted to Magna.
“It has that historical Main Street feel that they were attracted to. That small town, anywhere,” Virginia Pearce, director of the Utah Film Commission, told the Deseret News. “It’s got big wide-open streets and it’s not very busy, so it’s easy to come and take over.”
One set piece on Main Street in Magna that was built for the film was a fictional diner called The Spoon where Andi and her friends hang out on a regular basis. In creating The Spoon, they rented out an empty lot on Main Street and transformed it into a colorful, cozy diner that gives off the vibe of a happening hang-out place.
The filming of “Andi Mack” has had a significant economic impact on the area. According to Pearce, Disney brought in a handful of top creative talent in charge of the show, but much of the crew was hired locally, including producers, cinematographers, art directors and costume directors, which created about 150 jobs.
“It’s great for us. It really is. (It's) the latest in a long-standing relationship that Disney has with Utah,” Pearce said. “It’s a great economic impact. It’s great culturally for us. It’s great promotional space for Utah.”
The filming of the first season of the show began in September and will wrap up shortly before Christmas. No specific release date within 2017 on Disney Channel has been set.
“I love Utah," Manning said. "I hope we have a second season.”
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