Hollywood comes to Lakeland: Celebs spotted as Disney films ‘The One And Only Ivan’

Polk County

If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of Bryan Cranston, Angelina Jolie, Sam Rockwell, Danny Devito or Helen Mirren in Lakeland.

The city is the backdrop for “The One and Only Ivan,” Disney’s new live-action/CG hybrid adaptation of a beloved children’s book written by Katherine Applegate. 

On Thursday crowds of spectators gathered at the Southgate Shopping Center to catch the all of the action.

“It’s awesome. I can’t believe it. I’m trying to see if I can catch a star but we’re too far,” Ines Molina said with a laugh. “It’s like bringing Hollywood to little old Lakeland.”

Some of the storefronts look quite different after being transformed for the movie. 

“They fell in love with Southgate shopping center and our iconic arch we have here,” said Faye Doppelheuer, who said she was approached by film crews a few months ago. Her store, Babe’s Shoes and Apparel has turned into an arcade, with a new storefront and signs, “I have a whole new storefront, and I am now the video arcade at the big top mall,” she said.

On Thursday, star Brooklynn Prince could be seen rehearsing some lines.  The day before, “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston was spotted filming at a home on West Palm Drive.

Scenes will also be filmed at the Silver Moon Drive-In, Dixieland Elementary School, and on Friday the crews are expected to film at the shopping center. 

Film crews will be in town through Saturday, June 23.

The movie is expected to be released in the summer of 2019.

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