When Singularity Productions came to Hope on Nov. 29, most community residents lauded the production company and its approach to capturing those exterior shots that are so critical to any film.
Of course, there was the influx of large equipment trucks and other vehicles but they were, for the most part, kept away from the street by parking them at the CE Barry School parking lot. The production company also went to great lengths to keep the community informed of their actions and made special allowances to ensure that both vehicular and pedestrian traffic were only minimally affected.
“We’re aware that a movie can be disruptive, particularly in a smaller town like Hope, but we were very much aware of the fact that we have to be considerate of the needs of the community and responsive to any complaints,” said Kirk Johns, location manager for Singularity Productions.
“But the people here have been so wonderful that it’s been a great experience over all.”
The filming actually started on Dec. 1 at Memorial Park after some minimal setup on the previous two days.
By that time, Hope residents would have noticed that the exterior of Nu-Way Traders pawn shop had become an apparent liquor store and that street signs and other aspects of the streetscape had changed as well. Filming also took place at Memorial Park and along Wallace Street.
“Movies are always a bit about illusion. It’s all part of the magic of film,” Johns said.
The film is the second to shoot in Hope in as many weeks and is based upon the work of W. Bruce Cameron, the author of the New York Times bestselling novel A Dog’s Purpose, which is also a major motion picture, as well as the book 8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter, which has turned into a hit television series.
A Dog’s Way Home is the latest of Cameron’s work to take to the silver screen and is being filmed under the direction of Charles Martin Smith, whose credits include Dolphin Tale (2011) and Air Bud (1997). He is also a well-known actor whose iconic roles in American Graffiti, The Buddy Holly Story, and the Untouchables (among many others) have made him a recognizable and beloved figure in the industry.
The film stars Ashley Judd (Twin Peaks Reboot, Berlin Station), James Olmos (Blade Runner, Battlestar Galactica), Wes Studi (Avatar, Penny Dreadful), Alexandra Shipp (X-Men, Straight outta Compton), and Jonah Hauer-King (The Last Photograph) and is the story of the incredible bond between humans and their pets.
The story follows the journey of Bella, a lovable dog stripped away from her owner who embarks on an epic journey back to her home.
When the filming was done, and the crews quietly packed their equipment, it left many Hope residents eagerly anticipating the next production along the streets of the town.