Interview with director shooting movie in Castlegar
Excitement continues to build over a movie being filmed right here in Castlegar, after two days of auditions have allowed local residents their own shot at an appearance on the big screen.
The film, Hollow in the Land, is slated to feature Glee star Dianna Agron, and was written and will be directed by Castlegar’s own Scooter Corkle.
“We held auditions Sunday, Sept 24, and we had 70 (people scheduled to read for us). That’s a lot of people to look at,” Corkle said, adding the auditions were for speaking parts. “We got a lot of really cool people – we were surprised. Castlegar has talent!”
He added there were more auditions the following Sunday, and anyone wanting to serve as an extra should reach out to email@example.com . He said many people were really just trying out as a lark, which was fine by him, “I like the way one lady put it, ‘You can’t win the lottery, if you don’t buy a ticket,’” he said. “I thought that was a great sentiment.
“It’s always nerve-wracking, auditioning non-actors without agents or experience, but this was fun,” he said, adding he was struck by how friendly and good natured everyone was. “I was very, very pleased.”
Corkle, 32, grew up in Robson, spent most of him time in the Arrow Lakes or swimming with the Robson River Otters as head coach and pool boy, eventually graduating valedictorian from Stanley Humphries.
“It wasn’t based on marks – it was an elected position,” he recalled, laughing. “I was leader of the drama club. I think I got voted in because everybody figured I could do a speech. It sure wasn’t because of my grades.”
After graduation (and some time in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, which is a whole ‘nother story), he ended up going to a small school called the Arts Institute on the West Coast.
“What I really took away were the contacts – I still work with, and am friends with, many of the people I met there.”
He said he chose Castlegar as the site of his movie a) because he loves his hometown and b) because Celgar’s mill provides such a visually fascinating backdrop.
“I feel very connected to the Kootenays, and Celgar is bad-ass,” he said, adding he also had local contacts – his parents used to play ball with Castlegar Mayor Lawrence Chernoff. “He was the first person we talked to, and he’s very supportive of the arts.
“It’s beautiful out here. We’re shooting a lot of stuff at the top of the Lion’s Head mountain, and then down in the pub itself. I’m very grateful for living in Castlegar, growing up in Castlegar – being back here, bringing my movie back here, is fantastic. Surreal, actually.”
He said he drew on his own small-town experiences in writing the screen play.
“I love the idea of secrets in small towns – the idea of trying to keep a very big secret and how life-altering they can be when they do come out,” he said. “It was a lot easier for me to write it based on this town.”
He said the script also includes the local hockey culture. There’s actually a line in the screenplay, “Hockey is church out here”.
He said the more locals he can get in the movie, the better.
“I want my friends to be in it, my family to be in it, as many people as want to be in it,” he said. “I want to build that momentum; that excitement. It’s a whole lot of self-made pressure – I’ve put everything into this. I’m just hoping for the best.”
Filming is officially slated to begin Oct. 14, but they’ve already shot a very brief scene with the Castlegar Search and Rescue, which may even end up being the opening 10 seconds of the movie. Production people, crews and actors have already started arriving, and should see the Fireside Inn filling up with as many as 30 people involved in the filming.
One of the neatest parts of the movie is how it evolved – Corkle wrote the script himself, and originally planned to come out and film it with a few of his buddies on a bare-bones budget.
“The script changed a few different hands, and ended up in L.A., in the hands of (now-producer) Brian Kavanaugh Jones,” Corkle said. “Within two weeks, I had all of these interviews with actresses I love, and never expected to be sitting right beside. That part was surreal, too.”
He said it’s tough to say where and when the movie will be released – it will be shown in festivals and such, but it’s not certain whether it will end up in commercial theatres across the country, although that’s certainly the hope.
When asked how he would like to close the interview, what else he wanted Castlegar to know about himself and his project, he said this:
“With the sheer number of people we have interested, not everyone’s going to get a part. It’s heartbreaking for me, when these lovely people don’t get a part, but that’s just how it works. It’s a hard process, and a messy one – you may have a wonderful audition, but just not fit the part as well as someone else. I really hope there are no hard feelings, and that people know not to take it personally. I really enjoyed meeting everyone and I wish everyone could have a part.”
And what is it like, coming home to shoot a feature film with a big star, in front of all the people with whom he grew up?
“Humbling,” he said. ‘It’s humbling, to say the least.”
Check out the movie website at www.hollowintheland.com