Filming begins on "A Painted House"

Thursday, October 17, 2002

The picturesque windmill on the set of "A Painted House" filming has brought to the surface more than a bountiful supply of water, as filmmakers and movie stars have been seen throughout the Buffalo Island area.

During the first week of filming of Black Oak native John Grisham's "A Painted House" several members of the film's crew and cast have made visits to different sites in Craighead, Poinsett and Crittenden counties, much to the delight of local residents.

The cast of actors for "A Painted House" arrived in Northeast Arkansas last week for filming at Clarksdale's Chandler homestead site. The cast works on a closed site, under tight security. All nearby roads are closed to the public, only allowing farmers and local residents to pass by. Visitors to the site have had to stay far away, many perching themselves along the railroad tracks nearby.

Mexican actor and director, Alfonso Arau, is directing the Hallmark Hall of Fame made-for-television movie, slated to air on CBS early in 2003. Arau has previously directed Like Water for Chocolate and A Walk in the Clouds.

The "A Painted House" script was written by Patrick Shean Duncan, who also worked on Courage Under Fire and Mr. Holland's Opus.

The part of Eli "Pappy" Chandler is being played by Scott Glenn, who starred in The Right Stuff, Urban Cowboy, and Hallmark Hall of Fame's The Seventh Stream. The character of Jesse Chandler, Luke's father, will be played by Robert Sean Leonard, from Dead Poet's Society, and Hallmark Hall of Fame's The Boys Next Door. The part of the young boy, Luke Chandler, will be played by Logan Lerman, who starred in Riding in Cars with Boys and The Patriot. The part of Kathleen Chandler, Luke's mother, will be played by Arija Bareikis, from the Snow Falling on Cedars and Oz.

A Painted House, is set in the 1950's during harvest season in the Arkansas Delta town of Black Oak. The story is seen through the eyes of the young boy, Luke Chandler, who is the grandson of a cotton farmer. The fictitious drama draws on John Grisham's own childhood experiences and memories of living in rural Arkansas.

A Painted House is Grisham's 12th book, and was on the New York Times bestseller for 18 consecutive weeks last year. Seven million copies have been reported in print, in the U.S.A, and it has been published in 23 other countries. The Times described author John Grisham as "about as good a storyteller as we've got in the United States these days. You can't help thinking of other coming-of-age novels from the South, like Huckleberry Finn or To Kill a Mockingbird."

"We loved Grisham's book, and were anxious to see how the movie was going to run," Melton Emery, of Caraway, said. "These people are so very professional and take their jobs seriously. They just seem to be pouring their hearts and souls into this project. I have the greatest confidence that the picture is going to be something we can all be proud of.

"Even though the actors are famous people, by any standard, they are warm and friendly with the crew of workers and assistants on the site. They take time to talk and visit between scenes, and never pass you by without having something to say. There is a warm atmosphere on the set, and you can see they are professionals."It is quite a special thing to see actors in person that you have admired for years, and see just how real they are," Emery said. "This is a job for them, their occupation, it is what they do for a living, and they do it very well."

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