ENDERBY - Having Sir Anthony Hopkins rave about your muffins. Watching a concert with Julia Stiles. Having a production wrap-up party blessed by the local First Nation.
These are just some of the special experiences people on both sides of the film Go With Me experienced over the last month-and-a-half.
“Every crew member felt the same way; they’ve never done a film like this before, never in their careers experienced something so tight-knit, almost like a family,” producer Rick Dugdale says, back home in L.A. now that filming has wrapped. “It was so moving.”
The film, which stars Sir Anthony Hopkins, Julia Stiles and Ray Liotta, was shot exclusively in the North Okanagan, primarily in Enderby, where Dugdale was born and raised.
He says the area perfectly matched the small Oregon logging town in the script, which is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Castle Freeman Jr. The story follows a young woman who returns home only to be harassed by an ex-cop. She reaches out to a former logger, played by Hopkins, to protect her.
The actors, particularly Hopkins, spent a lot of time touring the valley and making connections with locals. He graciously posed in numerous photos and signed many autographs.
“He embraced the area big time,” Dugdale says. “He loved the community and the people in it. You could just see it.”
Watching all those relationships form between the cast, crew and community is something Dugdale will treasure and never forget. Living in L.A. and having worked in the industry for over 15 years, he says he sometimes takes the Hollywood experience for granted.
“For me, that’s the part that was really neat to witness,” Dugdale says. “Part of my inspiration in the film business was the ability to have an impact on a lot of people. I think we succeeded in that. Peoples’ lives were touched, dreams were made true.”
As a tribute to the film, Enderby City Hall bought a portrait of Hopkins from a local artist and will hang it inside the municipal building. Artist Jaime Seward says the water colour was her way of quietly honouring the exciting event, although she ended up in the limelight herself at a farewell party on the steps of City Hall.
“He (Hopkins) was hugging me and people were taking photos. I said, ‘Can I kiss you on the cheek?’ and he said of course. Then, everyone’s laughing and he turns around and kisses me on the cheek,” Seward says. “We were all having so much fun.”
Hopkins and his wife stayed at the Durali Villa in Vernon during the shoot, with the establishment’s owners now considering renaming the suite they stayed in ‘Hopkins’ Hideaway.’
Dugdale is hoping to debut the film next September at the Toronto Film Festival.
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