Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Smith Mountain Lake plays host to filmmakers; Jane Seymour signs books in Roanoke, Hardy
The lake makes another on-screen appearance, this time in the movie, "Lake Effects," the pet project of actress and producer Sara Elizabeth Timmons.
Photos by Stephanie Klein-Davis | The Roanoke Times
Actress Scottie Thompson gets spruced up between takes with actor Jeff Fahey (in plaid on boat) for the film "Lake Effects." The filming is taking place on the boat dock of Sue and Bill Timmins' lake house near Union Hall on Smith Mountain Lake. Sarah Elizabeth Timmins is producing the film.
Sue and Bill Timmins have opened their home on Smith Mountain Lake as the set for the movie "Lake Effects." The Timminses have lived on the lake for about five years after moving from Youngstown, Ohio.
Sara Elizabeth Timmins is the producer of "Lake Effects."
UNION HALL -- It's been 20 years, but Smith Mountain Lake is once again host to a movie set, the first time since cameras descended on Moneta in 1990 to film the comedy "What About Bob?"
Last week, the entrance to a sedate, tree-shrouded cul-de-sac in Franklin County was lined with trailers for the family drama "Lake Effects."
The street buzzed with golf carts and walkie talkies. Also there was, briefly, a flaming pyre on the water.
"Yesterday, we set a barge on fire" for a funeral sequence, said Second Assistant Director Clint Buckner on Thursday.
"Today we're more ... relaxed," he said, although the intensity and hustle of the crew belied that statement a little.
"Lake Effects" commenced Oct. 5 and is about halfway through its 24-day schedule. With a cast that includes Jane Seymour, Jeff Fahey and Richmond-raised actress Scottie Thompson, the movie is being shot at locations such as Dudley Elementary School, Franklin Community Bank, downtown Bedford and the Franklin County Courthouse.
Today the crew is due to face what is arguably the movie's most complicated undertaking -- a wine festival staged at Bernard's Landing, involving about 100 extras.
It's the pet project of Sara Elizabeth Timmins, an actress and producer whose parents, Bill and Sue, live on the lake in Union Hall, and who conceived the movie two years ago after moving to the area from Los Angeles. She's producing "Lake Effects" and plays a bartender in the movie, and said she hopes the film will bring notoriety to Smith Mountain Lake. The lake and other locations are mentioned in the script, she said.
A topic that is not being evoked, however, is the cost of the project, which Timmins' company last year estimated at $1.8 million, but that was before fundraising was complete.
"I do know the budget. And I'm not telling you," Timmins said, laughing, when asked about it last week.
She got financing together in May, she said, and shooting was timed to capture the area's fall colors as the backdrop.
Jane Seymour, star of "Lake Effects" and "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," will appear at two local bookstores this week to sign copies of her new book, "Among Angels."
Tuesday, Oct. 19
- 6:30 p.m., Barnes & Noble Tanglewood, 4478 Electric Road S.W., Roanoke, 776-2960
Friday, Oct. 22
- 5:30 p.m., The Cottage Gate, 84 Westlake Road, Hardy, 721-5622
- Arts & Extras blog: Want to be in pictures? "Lake Effects" movie seeks local actress
"Look at the way the weather has turned out," she said Thursday, as Fahey and Thompson gathered on her parents' boat dock to film a scene. "The weather's on time, the leaves are on time."
Timmins' mother, Sue, an artist, said that as a child her daughter frequently drafted her cousins and younger sisters into backyard plays and performances.
"Knowing Sara and how determined she is, this was not beyond the realm of possibility," she said as members of the film's staff of about 40 swarmed through and around their home.
"Did I ever think she would produce a movie? Yes," Bill Timmins said. "Did I think this would happen here? No."
Neighbors are pitching in to help as well. Businesses have donated vehicles, location access and an ever-important filmmaking commodity -- catering.
"Every morning, people bring breakfast," said Marlene Truesdeal of the Huddleston Rescue Squad, who was on set as a medic last week.
Others are using the movie as an opportunity to get work experience.
"This is my first movie, hopefully not my last," said Andy May, 22, a production assistant who's also on the staff at WDBJ7. He wants to get into documentary filmmaking and said that between his full-time job and "Lake Effects," he's putting in about 80 hours a week.
Rich Brager of Hardy snapped pictures last week as a set photographer. "I'm just retired and don't have anything better to do with my time," he said.
Dan Taylour of Greta works off-camera as a utility grip, but said his legs appear in the movie -- doubling for Fahey's feet -- and said the pack of llamas he owns are scheduled to make a cameo later in the shooting.
The filmmakers spent two hours Thursday filming the scene between Fahey, a character actor who has hit it big lately with roles in "Lost" and "Machete," and Thompson, who is in the science fiction epic "Skyline," out next month.
As the camera crew changed their setup to shoot from a different angle, they got an unexpected visitor, a stone-faced fisherman who drifted silently by the dock on his bass boat.
"That's Smith Mountain Lake," mused a crew member, quietly, as the angler nonchalantly floated past the camera.