Looking forward to going behind the scenes of #8216;Honeydripper#039;

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 29, 2006

Like plenty of other people in our county, I am very excited about the prospect of a movie being shot here this fall – even more so after meeting the film’s producer, Maggie Renzi, and hearing her share about the experiences of making independent films.

We all have those pre-conceived notions of what &uot;movie people&uot; will be like. Heavens knows, Hollywood seems to be brimming over with folks displaying trimmed-down noses, inflated bosoms, lips – and egos to match.

Maggie seems to be nothing like that plastic, shallow image. She charmed her audience at the Rotary Club with her unpretentious, down-to-earth personality and sharp wit.

She and husband John Sayles, who is the writer-director of the movie, live in the Hudson River Valley, far away from the craziness of La-La-land.

I found it quite refreshing when she said no diva-types are allowed on their film shoots.

&uot;If they’re known trouble makers, we just don’t invite them to join us,&uot; Maggie said with a smile.

Sayles’ movies are not the big-time, mega-million dollar blockbuster films Hollywood churns out annually. The six million dollars this film will cost wouldn’t even cover a single star’s salary in some of these movies.

Yet, for all the money thrown at some of these big-time productions, many just aren’t very good. As my husband often says after we watch a movie on television, &uot;I’m glad I didn’t pay seven or eight bucks for THAT.&uot;

I believe &uot;Honeydripper&uot; will be a quality film we can be proud to say was filmed in our county and our towns.

In case you didn’t know, John Sayles is probably the finest independent film director in the country.

He is also a gifted writer who creates interesting, multidimensional characters of all ages and races. Sayles’ films are shot in the locales presented in the scripts, and many local people and places will have a chance to shine on screen when the film is released next fall.

With its 1950s blues club theme, &uot;Honeydripper&uot; will feature some 300-400 extras and 18 speaking roles – and a prime opportunity for talented local African-Americans (Jeddo Bell, have they heard you play the piano yet?)

There will plenty of chances for those of us who don’t appear in front of the camera to play a part in the making of this movie.

Maggie is very interested in getting locals involved in the pre-production phase of the movie, which begins next month. Assistance will be needed in set construction. For example, Georgiana’s downtown will have to transformed into a prosperous little railroad town of the era.

Vintage vehicles – cars, trucks, wagons and tractors – will be needed, along with mules and horses, for use in the film. If you have something the film crew can use or want a chance to be in &uot;Honeydripper,&uot; please contact Carol Lee at the Chamber of Commerce.

As for me, I’m thrilled at the prospect of getting to go behind the scenes during the weeks of pre-production.

Maggie has already extended an invitation for me to visit with the set designers, costume designers, et al. to learn about the process of preparing for a film.

Of course, I will be writing about all this to share with you, our readers (while the set will be closed once filming starts, we’ll keep our fingers crossed some of its

&uot;non-diva-like&uot; stars will agree to do interviews).

All in all, it’s going to be a very interesting late summer and fall in Butler County this year.

Can’t wait to share it all with you!

Angie Long is Lifestyles reporter for The Greenville Advocate. She can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 132 or via email at angie.long@greenvilleadvocate.com.