Incline film studio holding auditions for ‘Sign of the Sun’ | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Incline film studio holding auditions for ‘Sign of the Sun’

In preparation for the movie "Sign of the Sun," which will film throughout the region this summer, Northern Nevada Studios in Incline Village is holding preliminary open call auditions for various cameo, extra, and supporting roles. The studio also "is looking for a diamond in the rough who might end up taking a lead role," said NNS CEO Jarrett Grimes. The call is open to all who are over 18 and would like to gain experience by working on a what the studio refers to as a major Hollywood film. No experience is necessary; however, singing/musical talent is a plus. Auditions will take place at the Mark Twain Cultural Center in Incline Village (across from the post office in the Village Shopping Center) on April 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No appointments are required. "Sign of the Sun" stars Julian Forest and Charles Gilchrist. Written and directed by Grimes, the film is "an inspiring story about a man who comes into our world to bring a message of peace and love through music," according to a press release. Learn more about Northern Nevada Studios and the film at eppictv.com/SEP.html.

Hollywood in the hills: ‘Smokin’ Aces’ starts filming at casinos

Ten years after the box office blunder “Showgirls,” Lake Tahoe will get another shot at a Hollywood film. “Smokin’ Aces” will begin filming this week though the rest of the month at Stateline, using the casino floors of Caesars Tahoe and Horizon Casino Resort as the basis of the action-comedy by director Joe Carnahan. The film stars Ray Liota, Ben Affleck, Jeremy Piven, Taraji Henson from this summer’s sleeper “Hustle and Flow,” plus Grammy-award R&B singer Alicia Keys, who will make her film debut. More than 150 extras, many from the South Shore, will be in the film, as well as about 100 film production personnel, cast and crew members that will pump more than $35,000 a day into the local economy, said Nevada Film Office Deputy Director Robin Holabird. The movie is about the pursuit of a magician and mobster named Buddy Israel who decides to jump bail and hide out inside a penthouse casino at Lake Tahoe. The film follows a cast of federal agents, bail bondsmen, professional assassins and aging mobsters as they all simultaneously close in on Israel for what publicists are saying will be a funny, deadly and surprising finale. The idea to have the film in Tahoe came from director Carnahan, a resident of Sacramento, whose only other film was 2002’s critically acclaimed “Narc” staring Ray Liota and Jason Patric. The last big budget motion picture scenes filmed at Lake Tahoe were from 1995’s “Showgirls,” a movie panned by critics and moviegoers as being one of the worst ever made. The name Caesars Tahoe will be changed to “Nomad” for the film. Crews brought down three Caesars signs on Monday that will go back up after the film crew leaves. The Caesars Tahoe signs will stay up temporarily until January, when the casino will change its name permanently to MontBleu. The Horizon name won’t be changed for the film. “Based on the screenplay the script calls for two casinos across the street from one another. All casinos in the area were contacted and Caesars and Horizon expressed the most interest in pursuing the project,” Holabird said. Tahoe was selected because of the gaming element, and the fact that the lake figures into the script, said the film’s publicist, Louise Spencer. “Smokin’ Aces” is a movie with a mob theme, Spencer said, adding that the character Fredo from “The Godfather” whose fate lies in the bottom of Lake Tahoe, doesn’t enter into the picture. While the film’s exterior scenes will be shot primarily in and around the lake and some inside the casinos, much of the film will be made in Los Angeles, Spencer said. The film company has four shooting days inside Caesars and Horizon, from Oct. 18 to Oct. 21 and perhaps a few days longer. Film locations will vary, and may include chase scenes around the casino corridor, Holabird said. The majority of the shoot is currently staged in the parking structure or just outside the east side entrances of Caesars. Since much of the script involves the two hotels, the film company will use a room at Horizon as a staging area. “Essentially both hotels will be used in some ways during all of the shoot days,” according to a one-page memorandum on the film. About 150 extras have been cast per day for the film. The size of the film crew will be about 110 people. The company will have between 20 and 30 large trucks and trailers parked at the Horizon that will serve as the company’s base, the memo stated. Horizon spokeswoman Ellen Pollard said the film will bring “great exposure” to not only Caesars Tahoe and Horizon but to the entire South Shore and that the casinos are pleased to be part of the production. “It’s getting the word of Lake Tahoe out there,” Pollard said. The film is great for Lake Tahoe, Nevada and particularly Stateline, added Holabird. Not only is the lake getting exposure from a major Hollywood studio but a much-needed economic boost during the shoulder season, she said. On average a low-budget movie will typically bring in about $35,000 a day to the local economy. While “Smokin’ Aces” is not considered a big budget movie, it probably qualifies as medium budget, likely to bring in more than $35,000 a day to the economy, she added. “Movie people love Starbucks. You might see some of them play at the tables. They love good restaurants, and if it rains, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d need to buy a lot of umbrellas. I’ve seen it happen before with other films. The local economy gets a nice boost during films such as these,” Holabird said. The film is produced by Working Title Films, the same company that produced “Bridget Jones’s Diary, “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Love Actually,” “Elizabeth,” “Notting Hill” and “O Brother Where Art Thou?” Universal Pictures will distribute the film, in theaters worldwide. The release date has not been determined.

Extras! Extras! Read all about it!

Has the acting bug been circling around your head? If it has, this weekend could be the perfect time to shine. Media Casting, a Sacramento-based casting company is coming to Lake Tahoe to recruit nearly 300 people to work on an upcoming feature film called “The Deep End.” “The whole film will be filmed in Lake Tahoe,” Everett Blix, an owner of the casting company said. “(The movie) was written for Lake Tahoe.” It is too early to reveal anything about the movie or its stars because that information is typically released toward the end of filming so that the movie isn’t a giveaway, he said. Blix said the open call will be a great opportunity for aspiring actors because those who tryout will remain on file for consideration of future roles. “I’d like to get 300-plus people to get a good selection,” Blix said. The movie will also generate a hefty source of revenue throughout its six weeks of filming in the Tahoe Basin. According to Blix – whose company was responsible for “Phenomenon” which was filmed in Auburn, Calif. – $5.1 million was cycled into Auburn’s economy in a five-week period. Production crews will be filming on both shores for up to six weeks. El Dorado Film Commissioner Kathleen Dodge is looking forward to every minute of it. “We are constantly trying to attract business,” Dodge said, who will also be in Tahoe City this weekend for the casting call. “It’s really going to be great for the community, we are really trying to think regionally,” Dodge said. adding that the upcoming movie will show other filmmakers that Lake Tahoe is a viable place to make their pictures. “Sooner or later I am going to get my first Spielberg out of El Dorado County,” Dodge said, adding that open casting calls are a great way to enrich the culture of the community. Breakout Want to be an actor? What: Open casting call for the Lake Tahoe Basin for an upcoming feature film “The Deep End” When: Saturday, May 6, 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 7, noon-7:30 p.m. Where: Tahoe City Marina, 700 N. Lake Blvd., near Jake’s Restaurant and Safeway Who: Anyone may come to the casting call. Adults and children welcome. All ages and ethnic groups, no experience necessary. SAG and AFTRA members welcome. Media Casting hot line (916) 556-0926. Media Casting will bring acting coach Charlie Holliday and photographer Skip Dougherty, who will hold free workshops explaining the business of acting. El Dorado County Film Commissioner Kathleen Dodge (530) 621-5887. Dodge will discuss location filming in El Dorado and Placer counties and will be accepting resumes from those who can provide services to production companies. She will will also accept 4-by-6 photos of locations such as homes, historical buildings and scenic property.

Hundreds in Tahoe try to be in movie

Hundreds of people showed up in Tahoe City over the weekend in hopes of becoming an actor. Media Casting Company invited anyone to attend the open casting call for an upcoming feature film, “The Deep End.” “Slews of people showed up,” Kathleen Dodge, El Dorado County Film Commissioner said. “It was a long haul.” Dodge attended the open call to meet with newcomers and to accept pictures of possible movie locations. More people showed up to appear in the picture rather than those who brought pictures of their homes or old buildings. “People are really into the talent. They see the stars (in movies) and want to be involved,” Dodge said. She added that individuals who are interested in the entertainment industry should always call their film commissioner to verify a film producer’s credibility. Dodge said that it was a surprisingly good turnout filled with a great selection of good-looking people. She added that looks aren’t everything and casting directors stumble upon people who fit their look of the moment. The number of potential actors and extras that will be used in the film has yet to be released, but Dodge said that those who are not used will remain on the casting company’s files. Filming for the movie set in Lake Tahoe will begin May 10 and will continue for six weeks.

A-list stars shoot movie at South Shore

STATELINE – Hundreds of miles from the motion picture nerve center known as Hollywood, actor Ray Liotta got into a late model Chrysler parked outside the Horizon Casino Resort on Thursday morning. With temperatures hovering in the mid-40s, this “Goodfella” turned FBI agent draped in a black suit was going for a ride. Rigged to the back of a flat-bed trailer and pulled by a truck, the Chrysler would be pulled back and forth from Stateline to South Lake Tahoe around the time the sun came up, until about the time the sun flirted over Lake Tahoe. As the saying goes here in Tahoe, “It’s all good.” Film production for the comedy-action movie “Smokin’ Aces” starring Liotta, Ben Affleck, Jeremy Piven, Taraji Henson and Alicia Keys began this week in Stateline and South Lake Tahoe, and by all indications not only are things good on the set but off as well. “The people in Stateline and Lake Tahoe have been very helpful,” said film publicist Louise Spencer. “Smokin’ Aces” will be filmed through October at South Shore, using the casino floors of Caesars Tahoe and Horizon Casino Resort as the basis of the action-comedy by director Joe Carnahan of Sacramento. The film stars Liotta, Ben Affleck, Jeremy Piven, Ryan Reynolds, Taraji Henson from this summer’s sleeper “Hustle and Flow,” plus Grammy-award R&B singer Alicia Keys, who will make her film debut. Flanked by film production and security personnel, Liotta was spotted Thursday morning in between shots, talking with the director, film crews and extras and appeared in good spirits. More than 150 extras, many from the South Shore, will be in the film, as well as about 100 film production personnel, cast and crew members. The movie is about the pursuit of a magician and mobster named Buddy Israel, played by Piven, who decides to jump bail and hide out inside a penthouse casino at Lake Tahoe. The film follows a cast of federal agents, bail bondsmen, professional assassins and aging mobsters as they all simultaneously close in on Israel for what publicists are saying will be a funny, deadly and surprising finale. The idea to have the film in Tahoe came from director Carnahan, a resident of Sacramento, whose only other film was 2002’s critically acclaimed “Narc” staring Liotta and Jason Patric. “After reading the script, I thought it was brilliant. It is amazingly funny and clever,” said Kathleen Dodge, executive director of the El Dorado/Lake Tahoe Film Commission. “We’re very grateful to Joe Carnahan for making Lake Tahoe the backdrop to the film.” With assistance from the Nevada and California highway patrols, Douglas County Sheriff’s Department and the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, much of Thursday’s shooting revolved around driving scenes throughout the South Shore and along Lake Tahoe Boulevard. Typical shooting days last about 12 hours, Spencer said. Both the Horizon and Caesars are the film’s home base. Earlier this week, the Caesars Tahoe marquee was changed to “Nomad” for the film. Crews brought down three Caesars signs on Monday that will go back up after the film crew leaves. The Caesars Tahoe signs will stay up temporarily until January, when the casino will change its name permanently to MontBleu Resort and Spa. The Horizon name won’t be changed for the film. Based on the screenplay the script calls for two casinos across the street from one another. All casinos in the area were contacted and Caesars and Horizon expressed the most interest in pursuing the project, said Nevada Film Office Deputy Director Robin Holabird. The movie is expected to pump more than $35,000 a day into the local economy.

Extras needed for upcoming movie shoot

South Shore residents who dream of silver screen success could be discovered this weekend. Media Casting, a Sacramento-based company, will be hosting an extra casting call for the independent movie, “Inferno,” being filmed in El Dorado County starting Sept. 6. Everett Blix, casting director for the movie, said he is looking for about 400 people to serve as paid extras in crowd and dance scenes and in specialty roles. The specialty roles require real firefighters, smoke jumpers and Contra dancers, which is a type of western dance. Blix said he’s still looking for actors to fill principal roles as well, however those people would need significant professional acting experience. Blix said being an extra is a good way to break into the movie industry. “Acting is harder than most people think,” he said. “For the person who wants to learn more about the business, being an extra is a good way. You learn, get paid and get fed.” Blix said there will be no fee for people who only want to work on this movie and bring a close-up photo. However, those who would like to be considered for other Media Casting movies, will be charged a $10 fee, which includes a head shot taken at the casting call. Extras do not need any acting experience, and will have to fill out an application that includes when they are able to work. Kathleen Dodge, El Dorado Tahoe film commissioner, will be accepting film crew and service industry resumes, such as caterers, phone equipment providers, furniture rental agencies and office suppliers. Although the movie will be filmed solely on the West Slope, Dodge said she will be accepting photos of interesting locations, homes, businesses and scenic property on the South Shore for other movies that may be filmed in Tahoe. She said owners should include their name, phone number and physical address of the property with submitted photos. Dodge said the casting calls generally have a good turn out. “It doesn’t require any particular experience,” she said. “And you’ll have an opportunity to work on a movie set.” Two free workshops will be given Sunday, which Dodge said will be helpful for people with acting aspirations. “I think it is a good thing,” she said. “It’s a nice free opportunity to learn.” Acting coach Charlie Holliday will talk about “The Business of Acting,” and photographer Skip Doughty will teach people how to develop professional head shots for film, commercials and print. Bkout: What: Open extra casting call for independent film “Inferno” When: 11 a.m. -6 p.m., Saturday, noon-7 p.m., Sunday Where: Theatre El Dorado, second gate entrance of El Dorado County Fairgrounds, Placerville Drive exit n Auditions are free for people who bring close-up photos and who are trying out for this film only.

PBS show featuring vacation destinations films in South Shore

A television show about traveling with friends and family to great vacation destinations recently finished filming at the South Shore. The show, called "Getting Away Together," follows a group of people participating in various fun activities while on vacation. Two weeks ago, the first Lake Tahoe episode was filmed in the series, making it the show's first "winter" episode as well. "We found it was one of the most miracle-laden shoots ever," said Jerry Smith, director of the show and owner of PineRidge Film and Television, the company producing it. "God shined on (South Shore) because the days we were there, there was thick snow and we nailed it in that time." Four Bay Area residents were selected to be the cast of the episode, but one couldn't participate after suffering a sprained ankle a few days before filming. Twin sisters from Salt Lake City were then brought on to the project as additional cast members. "The story line became twins invading the vacation of three other people, and if that's the case, what would happen?" Smith said. "Well, what happened is they became like family." Crews began filming the episode March 24 with some scenic shots and started filming the cast two days later. They continued filming cast members over the next four days as the group participated in a number of South Shore activities. During the episode, the vacationers went snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice-skating, gambling, skiing, snowboarding and more. "These are young kids having fun, boogying at their ski party, skiing and screaming and having fun," he said. "It's a fun show to watch." Producers picked activities that portrayed the "essence" of what the South Shore is, and Smith thinks the episode achieved that. "When the show is over," he said, "we would like the locals to look at it and say, 'They captured the essence of this place.'" The group stayed in a 4,400-square-foot house off Pioneer Trail that included six bedrooms, four bathrooms, a hot tub and several other amenities. The home was provided by Lake Tahoe Accommodations, which also funded a portion of the show. Jim Morris, owner of Lake Tahoe Accommodations, said the company supported the production in an effort to spread the word about Tahoe being a great vacation destination. "They were really excited about the snow they got here," He said of the production company. "That was the greatest thing." PineRidge tried to film the episode — the show's 21st — earlier this year, but a lack of snow held up shooting. With a snowstorm having swept through the area last week, it created the winter scene producers were hoping for, Smith said. In all, the half-hour episode took about six days to film, and Smith said he hopes to see it on the air during summer. "Getting Away Together" airs on PBS member stations.

PBS show films in South Shore

A television show about traveling with friends and family to great vacation destinations recently finished filming at the South Shore. The show, called "Getting Away Together," follows a group of people participating in various fun activities while on vacation. Last week, the first Lake Tahoe episode was filmed in the series, making it the show's first "winter" episode as well. "We found it was one of the most miracle-laden shoots ever," said Jerry Smith, director of the show and owner of PineRidge Film and Television, the company producing it. "God shined on (South Shore) because the days we were there, there was thick snow and we nailed it in that time." Four Bay Area residents were selected to be the cast of the episode, but one couldn't participate after suffering a sprained ankle a few days before filming. Twin sisters from Salt Lake City were then brought on to the project as additional cast members. "The story line became twins invading the vacation of three other people, and if that's the case, what would happen?" Smith said. "Well, what happened is they became like family." Crews began filming the episode March 24 with some scenic shots and started filming the cast two days later. They continued filming cast members over the next four days as the group participated in a number of South Shore activities. During the episode, the vacationers went snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice-skating, gambling, skiing, snowboarding and more. "These are young kids having fun, boogying at their ski party, skiing and screaming and having fun," he said. "It's a fun show to watch." Producers picked activities that portrayed the "essence" of what the South Shore is, and Smith thinks the episode achieved that. "When the show is over," he said, "we would like the locals to look at it and say, 'They captured the essence of this place.'" The group stayed in a 4,400-square-foot house off Pioneer Trail that included six bedrooms, four bathrooms, a hot tub and several other amenities. The home was provided by Lake Tahoe Accommodations, which also funded a portion of the show. Jim Morris, owner of Lake Tahoe Accommodations, said the company supported the production in an effort to spread the word about Tahoe being a great vacation destination. "They were really excited about the snow they got here," He said of the production company. "That was the greatest thing." PineRidge tried to film the episode — the show's 21st — earlier this year, but a lack of snow held up shooting. With a snowstorm having swept through the area last week, it created the winter scene producers were hoping for, Smith said. In all, the half-hour episode took about six days to film, and Smith said he hopes to see it on the air during summer. Getting Away Together airs on PBS member stations.

These real SEALs are the reel deal

Watching real-life Navy SEALs at work in “Act of Valor,” is a pleasure, with certain reservations. The harrowing action nearly makes you forget a few unfortunate scenes that require the SEALs to act – a task clearly falling outside their job description. Originally intended for recruitment, this film, directed by stunt men Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh, morphed into a feature presentation that is pro-American, pro-democracy and pro-heroism. Many critics take umbrage with its “go America” attitude, some terming the result “military porn,” and calling those inclined to like it “patri-idiots.” Both characterizations are harsh, since the vast majority of Americans pray for peace. The question is, Why shouldn’t we feel reassured by the talent and training our Defense dollars buy? However, a lesser known controversy plagues not only this film, but any number of Hollywood blockbusters that must bow to the Pentagon’s demand that studios and filmmakers grant the Pentagon line-by-line editing power in exchange for filming either U.S. military equipment or personnel. It’s an infuriating effort to control the propaganda message wrapped within our entertainment – not to mention the trampling of free speech. Such First Amendment issues are less important in “Act of Valor,” a film that proudly wears its stars and stripes on its sleeve. The action proclaims an unwavering belief in our Navy SEALs and those working with them in support positions. We fervently hope this belief is earned. The filmmakers have repeatedly claimed that casting active duty SEALs meant agreeing to their terms. Those were the use of live ammunition and scripting missions and action that were realistic. It’s debatable whether the result is great movie-making, but for those interested in the world of covert ops, or the methods used to gather intelligence and follow leads, the film has much to offer. Though the mission is fictional, it purports to follow the procedures and protocols used within our military/intelligence complex. If this is true, perhaps what is most frightening after all is said and done, are the delicate threads of information upon which the success of difficult missions depends. It’s a thrilling ride – God help us.

Movie being filmed at North Lake Tahoe

It’s lights, camera, action for Lake Tahoe as the film crew for “The Deep End” makes Tahoe its temporary home. Until recently, the crew was mostly confined to West Shore. But last week Tahoe residents caught a glimpse of the filming project in Kings Beach, Crystal Bay and Incline Village. On Friday, California Highway Patrol Officers controlled traffic in Kings Beach for a majority of the day as cameras rolled at the corner of North Lake Boulevard and Coon Street. Cars have to be stopped because the road noise is picked up by the microphones, said Terry Wyner, location manager. Although it’s unusual to be stopped for anything other than construction at this time of the year, CHP officers say it’s nothing unusual. “This is common practice for the highway patrol to do movie details,” said Steve Skeen, Truckee CHP officer. On Friday, Skeen and other fellow CHP officers started “movie detail” at 6:30 a.m. and continued late into the afternoon. But this isn’t the first time Skeen has dealt with traffic control for the purpose of movies. Many commercials come to Tahoe to film and scenes from “The Rookie” were also filmed in Tahoe, he said. “Where else can you get a background that looks like this,” said Skeen. The female lead is played by Tilda Swinton who starred in the movies “Orlando” and “Female Perversions” and recently had a love scene with Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Beach.” One of Swinton’s fellow actors is Goran Visnjic also known as Dr. Luka Kovac in the smash hit “ER.” Visnjic also starred in “Practical Magic” where he played Nicole Kidman’s boyfriend. “The Deep End” will be a dark family drama about a Tahoe family. The movie involves a dead body, blackmail and a mother trying to hold the family together. “It’s basically a suspense story,” said Beverly Lewis, director of the Placer/Lake Tahoe Film office. Lewis said this is the first time North Shore has had such a big movie filmed entirely there. “The whole movie takes place in Tahoe,” said Key Set Production Assistant Hayley Goggin, who added that a few scenes are filmed at a bar in Reno. Goggin is one of the five locals working with i5 production on this independent film. “I’m everybody’s local liaison,” Goggin said. “Wrangling extras,” is also one of Goggin’s duties as key set production assistant. However, the majority of the extras in the movie are from Sacramento, she added. But Wyner said the movie will represent Tahoe. The crew has even gone so far as to repaint the Homewood Post Office and rename it the Lake Tahoe Post Office, said Wyner. “This is a great cast and crew to work with,” said Goggin. Many of them had to take a pay cut in order to film this independent movie, but because this is Tahoe many were willing to do it, so they are laid back, said Goggin. The film was almost filmed in Canada because of generous tax incentives. But because the script was written for North Shore, it had to be filmed here, said Lewis. The script for the movie was written by directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel and was written specifically for North Lake Tahoe. “They are shooting the beauty of Lake Tahoe,” said Lewis. As director of the Placer/Lake Tahoe Film office, Lewis acknowledged the county and Lake Tahoe are great draws for the film world. The crew for the film, numbering between 60 and 70, works six days a week and up to 15 hours a day.