May 29, 2015
May 28, 2015
Student extras impress renowned director Rob Reiner
SALT LAKE CITY -
Westminster's campus was the setting of a reunion between actor Cary Elwes and director Rob Reiner. The pair hadn't worked together in 29 years-not since filming the 1987 cult classic "The Princess Bride
." However, there weren't any ROUS (rodents of unusual size) loose on campus (you'll need to keep wishing for a sequel). Reiner chose Westminster to film several scenes for his latest project, "Being Charlie."
"What I first noticed is it is a beautiful campus. We were trying to replicate USC," explained Reiner. "[Westminster College] has that same kind of feeling with the red brick and the whole atmosphere-just a terrific place."
Reiner filmed "Being Charlie"
at various sites in Utah throughout April. The final day of shooting was on Westminster's campus and it was the production's biggest shoot day.
"We try to make the most of the space. We try to fill a day," said location manager Andrew Scrivner. "If you don't have to move all the trucks and people it is more efficient for the budget of the film. Here on Westminster's campus we found different buildings for various scenes."
Converse Hall was the backdrop for a political rally, the Bassis Center served as a polling location, the Malmsten Amphitheater hosted a campaign bar-b-que, the Richer Commons was dressed up to mimic the University of Southern California and the front of Foster Hall transformed into a frat house.
"Seeing Westminster look like USC's campus-and Foster hall turned into a frat house-was the biggest thing that caught me off guard," said Westminster junior Andres Escobar. "Foster used to be student housing so I guess it's not that big of a stretch. It was really interesting to see how a few props and lights can make it look like a completely different campus. It's pretty cool."
Escobar was one of more than 150 extras needed for the multiple scenes filmed on campus. Many Westminster students jumped at the chance to experience the 'extra' life. Ashley Horrocks, a sophomore majoring in theatre, took the opportunity to learn from the crew and Reiner himself.
"Seeing what it is like and being in the action is so helpful and valuable," recalled Horrocks.
"I've talked to a lot of the students," Reiner said. "They tell me they're having a great college experience. They are having a great time and apparently there's a really good acting program and dance program. It's been a good experience for us filming here."
The independent movie is about a young man who runs away from a youth rehabilitation facility. When Charlie turns 18, his family admits him to an adult facility where he meets a girl. The film follows Charlie's struggles and journey. The production received a $265,494 tax incentive from Utah's Governor's Office of Economic Development. GOED says their Motion Picture Incentive Program is attractive to independent filmmakers, and generates jobs and revenue that stay in Utah.
"I had the greatest time in Utah," Reiner said. "It was one of the best experiences I've had making a movie. The crews are incredible and I was really stunned to find out how deep the talent pool was. There's a great pool of actors here in Utah."
Along with "The Princess Bride's" Cary Elwes, the film also stars Nick Robinson, Morgan Saylor and Common. Look for "Being Charlie" on the festival circuit.