Hollywood comes to town: New Albany’s Aunt Artie’s
Antique Mall used for upcoming movie
October 13, 2010 By Chris Morris
NEW ALBANY —
Dee Wallace was in New Albany on Tuesday afternoon, but this time the veteran actress was not looking for an extra-terrestrial being.
Wallace, who has starred in such movies as “E.T.” and “The Howling,” plays Ms. Jenkins in “Sam Steele and the Crystal Chalice” — a movie being produced and directed by New Albany resident Tom Whitus.
This is the second in a series of Sam Steele movies written by Whitus. The first, “Sam Steele and the Junior Detective” was filmed in 2009.
Whitus’ current Sam Steele movie is set to be released in 2011. He hopes to end shooting in December. The bulk of the film is being shot in New Albany and Louisville. “In 2009 we worked on a film in Des Moines and I was tired of traveling all over,” Whitus said between shoots Tuesday. “Staying in New Albany allows me to cut back on expenses and see my wife every day.”
Wallace, who played the mother in the 1982 blockbuster “E.T.” was in “Matchmaker Mary,” another Whitus film. She said she had done a “couple of things” in Louisville but had never ventured across the river. She currently lives in Hollywood. “I'd do anything for Tom. He's a great guy,” she said.
Whitus said having a veteran actress like Wallace in the movie is a definite advantage.
“She has worked with some of the biggest directors around,” he said. “She knows the business.”
Whitus’ first film, “More Than Puppy Love” was released in 1999. It starred Diane Ladd and was also tabbed a family film by the director.
After shooting a scene inside Aunt Artie’s Antique Mall along Main Street on Tuesday, many of those involved in the making of the film took a break outside to munch on pizza, and discuss their roles.
Katherine McNamara, a Kansas City resident, is currently on Broadway with Bernedette Peters but flew in to Louisville to shoot her scenes Tuesday. She said she met Whitus two years ago while working on “Sam Steele and the Junior Detective.” “We all [cast members] got really close,” McNamara said of making the first Sam Steele movie. “Dee is like another mother to me.”
Jacob Hays, 15, is also from Kansas City and said he enjoys his role as a kid detective in the movie. Whitus, a graduate of Doss High School and the University of Louisville, said his latest movie is “extreme low budget.” He said it normally takes 24 to 36 months to start making money on a film. Next week, Whitus will continue shooting in the area. Kevin Sorbo, of “Hercules” fame, is a co-star in the movie and will be in the area to shoot some scenes.