Rick Dugdale knows his hometown is perfect for his latest film project.
The 1995 Enderby A.L. Fortune Secondary graduate and former George Street Video employee – where he memorized customers’ code numbers – heads up Enderby Entertainment, a Hollywood film production company whose logo incorporates the renowned Enderby Cliffs.
Dugdale is working with Swedish director Daniel Alfredson and Jon Summerland, with the Okanagan Film Commission, to shoot Go With Me in Enderby and the North Okanagan.
The film, which would star Oscar winner Sir Anthony Hopkins, is based on a best-selling book, set in a Vermont logging town, but the script sent to Dugdale’s company has it located in a small Oregon town.
“When we read it, we knew this was a film we could shoot in the North Okanagan,” said Dugdale, 37, back home Thursday with Alfredson and Summerland scouting potential filming locations throughout the region. “We shoot all over the world but this script was so obvious it was the North Okanagan. We’ve definitely found some places to use in the film and we’re getting more and more comfortable here.”
Added Summerland: “We’re happy with what we’ve seen so far. We’ve been through Lumby, Vernon, Enderby, and we’ll continue up to Grindrod then back down through to Vernon. After we get Daniel’s vision of what he wants and what he doesn’t, we can send out more scouts for locations.”
Alfredson directed the last two of the immensely popular Millennium trilogy movies shot in his native Sweden, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest. His latest project – Kidnapping Freddy Heineken – details the story of the kidnapping of beer tycoon Alfred (Freddy) Heineken, which resulted in the largest ransom ever paid for an individual.
One of the stars of that picture is Hopkins, who won the 1992 Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of killer Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs.
“We’re casting the rest of the roles,” said Dugdale, who would serve as the film’s producer. “There are four lead parts and we’re confident the rest of the cast will be of Hopkins’ level.”
If all goes according to Dugdale’s plan, shooting in and around Enderby would start Nov. 10, and would last right up until Christmas.
The film would have “a healthy budget,” and would try to use local help for the picture.
“Local crews, in this case, could be from the North Okanagan or they could be from the Okanagan region,” said Summerland. “We’ve already talked to people from Vernon, Kelowna, Summerland and a sound guy from Grindrod. It’s great for us to be looking at Okanagan crews. We’ll try to do things with as many local people as we can, then bring in what’s missing.”
Alfredson, who arrived in Canada for the first time Wednesday night, chuckled when asked if he was eager to start the project.
“That’s a tricky question,” he said. “At least when you don’t start a movie you can change things. But what we’re doing right now is really, really important. We shift the pieces together, then put them together. We can match the story as good as we can.
“When we start filming, it’s like a military exercise. As long as we’re doing this (scouting), we can be creative.”
There is still a chance that the movie could be shot somewhere else, like the United States, due to economics. But Dugdale, whose mom, Louise, works at Enderby City Hall (“which would be perfect as the sheriff’s office in the movie,” said Dugdale) and Summerland are hopeful to return to the North Okanagan.
“A lot of these projects never come together like this one,” said Dugdale. “We always say it’s amazing movies get made because of all the roadblocks. But the team around this film – I play hockey and I always say you win championships by wearing the same jersey – that’s who we are as a company. We started to work with other partners and Daniel, and realized this is a championship team.”
It was a year ago that Disney shot the movie Tomorrowland, starring Oscar winner George Clooney and Hugh Laurie, in Enderby and Spallumcheen. Enderby Mayor Howie Cyr is thrilled with the prospect of Hollywood returning to the city.
“Jon works tirelessly on behalf of the film commission to bring these films to our region and we really do appreciate his work,” said Cyr. “Rick is a hometown boy who has always been supportive of our community, so to take the two of them together, it bodes well for our community. I’m very excited and grateful.”
Tomorrowland is expected to be released in May, 2015.