September 7, 2013 in Washington Voices

Tiny Fairfield lands cameo role in feature movie

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Jesse Tinsley photoBuy this photo

T.J. Williams Jr., the director of photography, frames up a shot with a digital movie camera in Fairfield, on Wednesday, while shooting a feature film assisted by North By Northwest. At right is Adam Miller, the first assistant camera operator.
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A movie crew livened up the usually quiet town of Fairfield this week.

The North by Northwest crew was using parts of City Hall and Main Street to shoot scenes for “West of Redemption,” starring Billy Zane, Mariana Klaveno and Kevin Alejandro.

Crew members and actors crammed the small City Hall office that was filling in as a post office on Wednesday because they couldn’t cut through the federal bureaucracy fast enough to film in the real post office next door.

A shout of “Picture’s up, quiet please,” would occasionally fill the air as the actors filmed the same scene several times from multiple camera angles. “It’s a scene that only lasts for a minute or two, but it will take two hours to shoot,” said executive producer Rich Cowan.

“West of Redemption” is mostly being shot at a ranch near Tyler. The shooting in Fairfield was only planned to last two days. Producers are being tight lipped about the plot, saying they don’t want to give away any of the twists and turns.

Producer Larry Estes said the movie will open with a couple settling in for a romantic dinner on their remote ranch when there is a knock on the door. The stranger on the doorstep claims he’s been in a car accident and asks to use the phone, but mysteriously knows the husband’s name. In short order he hits the husband over the head with the phone and then imprisons him in the barn.

The husband is played by Zane, a prolific actor with “Titanic,” “Zoolander” and “Back to the Future” among his credits. Fans of the HBO series “True Blood” may recognize the wife, Klaveno, who played Lorena in the series. Alejandro, who plays the stranger, appeared in “True Blood” as Jesus Velasquez and in “Southland” as Detective Nate Moretta.

Fairfield had to audition for the movie just like any actor. Estes said he visited seven small towns in one day. “We needed a post office, we needed a diner,” he said. He was impressed with the appearance of Main Street with the grain elevators in the background.

Fairfield had exactly what he wanted and the town was very welcoming, Estes said. “We’re kind of shocked, actually,” he said.

“It was just the quintessential little town that really fits,” Cowan said. “Fairfield is a great little town. I did a film called ‘The Basket’ and we shot it at a farmhouse outside of Fairfield.”

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