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‘Knights of Badassdom’ premieres to joy and relief of those involved

Trinakay Freeman autographs a T-shirt worn by her husband, Darin Freeman, before the Spokane premiere of the “Knights of Badassdom” Tuesday. Trinakay Freeman was an extra in the movie, playing a fairy. (Jonathan Brunt)
Trinakay Freeman autographs a T-shirt worn by her husband, Darin Freeman, before the Spokane premiere of the “Knights of Badassdom” Tuesday. Trinakay Freeman was an extra in the movie, playing a fairy. (Jonathan Brunt)

’Twas three and a half years ago that a medieval battle raged in the forests of Riverside State Park.

Tuesday, after major initial buzz and just-as-big production squabbles, that battle finally made the big screen in Spokane in the form of “Knights of Badassdom.”

The premiere Spokane showing of the gory, R-rated comedy with a script mixed with pretend Old English, modern American expletives and geeky gamer jargon sold 361 tickets, selling out the largest theater at the River Park Square AMC.

Many seats were taken by actors who wondered how much they would be on screen or if a line they said years ago would make the final cut. A few wore the homemade costumes they wore during filming.

Dan Anderson, a local actor who also appears in another movie currently showing at AMC, “Different Drummers,” said working on “Badassdom” was like being at summer camp. He said he’s been eagerly waiting to see it since it was filmed.

“You never know if your scene made it,” he said with five minutes until showtime. Anderson’s scene did make the final cut.

Before the showing, Aaron Ocheltree, a Spokane resident who played a cleric, said he couldn’t divulge details about what his character did.

“But I’m just glad that it’s in Spokane,” Ocheltree said.

Turns out he not only had lines, but a death scene.

“Knights of Badassdom” was filmed mostly at Riverside State Park in 2010 and generated major buzz after the debut of its theatrical trailer the next year. But the release of the movie was delayed in part because of a dispute between director Joe Lynch and IndieVest, the California production company that owned the movie. The movie rights were sold last summer to Toronto-based Entertainment One.

Robert Smith, an extra from Spokane who was recruited for the film at the Northwest Renaissance Festival, said extras in the movie have closely followed rumors about the film.

“At this point it’s just a relief to finally see it,” Smith said. “No more hanging off every tiny bit of information coming from the Internet.”

Entertainment One opted against a traditional theatrical release and worked with tugg.com, a website that offers anyone the ability to host screenings. Enough tickets were sold on the site to open in seven cities on Tuesday, including Atlanta, Seattle and Morrisville, N.C. Another screening is scheduled for tonight in Spokane at AMC before it opens at the Magic Lantern.

Tuesday’s premiere was sponsored by Spokane Comicon, Spokane’s annual comic book convention.

The comedic sci-fi thriller is about a group of role-playing war gamers who accidentally summon a demon who wreaks havoc among the pretend armies from centuries past. It stars Peter Dinklage of “Game of Thrones,” Danny Pudi of “Community” and Summer Glau of “Serenity.”

Rich Cowan, an executive producer of the film, said of the nearly 40 speaking parts in the movie, half were filled by local actors. He estimated that 200 extras and 100 crew members from the area worked on the film. Cowan’s North by Northwest Productions was contracted to film the movie in Spokane.

“What I’m really excited for is all the extras,” said Cowan, who answered questions for the audience after the movie. “Everybody can sit back and watch a product they worked so hard on.”

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