Friday, May 20, 2016

Asbury filmmakers in Midway for 'small town America'

Anson Williams, director, gave a "thumbs up" to Midway.
A video production crew is in Midway this week, shooting scenes for a one-hour pilot of a situation comedy that the Film Division of Asbury University hopes to sell to a national network or cable channel.

The crew is mainly students from Asbury, led by director Anson Williams, who starred as Potsie on TV's "Happy Days."

Williams said he was happy with the town, the crew and the cast, which was assembled from several states. The star is Doug Jones, who played the Silver Surfer in "The Fantastic Four."

The working title of the show is "Nazareth N.C." and it is set in rural North Carolina, which has no town named Nazareth. The pilot tells the story of Nathan Taylor, a New York stockbroker who loses his job and moves his family back to his hometown, where be becomes provost (chief academic officer) of the local college.

The synposis on the online casting call says in part, "Nathan has two weeks to procure $5 million to keep the college from going under. Complicating matters, the childhood home he’s moving his dubious family into is now a money pit and falling apart. So Nathan must settle his family, rebuild the house, rebuild relationships, and woo the local millionaire who does not suffer fools lightly. Set in the Blue Ridge mountains of N.C.‐ think 'Northern Exposure'  meets 'Gilmore Girls'."

The screenplay was written by Dr. Jim Shores of Asbury and Dean Natali, who produced "That '70s Show," according to Don Mink, who is Asbury's operations manager and the line producer for the sitcom. Other shooting will be done in Wilmore, where Asbury is located.

The crew prepared for the scene in which the family arrives
in town, parks in front of Railroad Drug and goes inside.
Mink said Midway was chosen for some scenes because "This is small-town America," and the storefront are sharp, distuinctive and colorful. "The color just jumps out at you."

In one scene filmed early Thursday afternoon, the family arrives in town, parks in front of Railroad Drug and walks in.

Mink said the last production he knew to be filmed in Midway was the 1998 movie "Simpatico," which starred Jeff Bridges and Sharon Stone as Thoroughbred owners and Nick Nolte as a former co-conspirator of theirs in California.

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