Madeline Haddock waited anxiously, moving from spot to spot on the north end of Forsyth Park on Monday afternoon, smartphone at the ready.
Then, with a split-second click, she got what she came for: a snapshot of movie star Zac Efron crossing Gaston Street.
The 17-year-old girl was about as happy as it gets.
“I’m a big fan because of ‘High School Musical,’” Madeline said. “It’s my childhood.”
Madeline, her sister and mother were a few of the people who stumbled upon a shoot for the upcoming movie “Baywatch,” starring Efron and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and based on the popular lifeguard action TV series from the 1990s.
The Haddocks, on vacation from Memphis, Tenn., had no idea the movie was filming in Savannah. Madeline had what she needed — a photo of Efron to share on social media through Snapchat — but her mother Elizabeth wanted to wait around for the other star.
“I was drooling over The Rock,” Elizabeth said. “We’re staying right down the street. This is a pleasant surprise.”
In Forsyth Park, the duo appeared to be filming some sort of chase scene involving a pink scooter.
Johnson — apparently playing David Hasselhoff’s old character Mitch Buchannon — was in town earlier this month and was filming at Memorial University Medical Center. Photos of the actor visiting sick children in the hospital were widely circulated.
On Monday, the city reported some complaints about paparazzi, and Savannah Film Office staffers said they could not even confirm the name of the movie being shot downtown.
Savannah-Chatham Police Sgt. Eric Dukarski was one of several officers helping with security for the shoot. Dukarski said officers help with crowd control and traffic and also make sure they film’s crew doesn’t violate their permit.
While there was a lot of interest from passersby, police said crowds were cooperative when asked to give the production some space.
“It’s been crowded,” Dukarski said. “There are lots of spectators interested in what’s going on. They seem surprised.”
Filming in Savannah continues today on the southside, and on Tybee Island starting Wednesday.