•• Magnolia Pictures has acquired U.S. rights to “The Magic of Belle Isle” once titled “Summer at Dog Dave’s, starring Morgan Freeman, Virginia Madsen, Madeline Carroll, Kenan Thompson and Fred Willard. Greenwood Lake served as Belle Isle during the summer shoot, with residents serving as extras in the film. Rob Reiner directed the drama, which will receive a summer 2012 release in theaters and through Ultra VOD.
In an effort to tap into his original talent, Monte Wildhorn (Morgan Freeman), a wheelchair-bound authormoves to a rural town – a Belle Isle cabin, where he befriends a single mother (Virginia Madsen) and her three kids, who help reignite his passion for writing.
•• The cast of the locally filmed TNT movie “Hornet’s Nest” arrived late last month, and the stars will be popping up around the Port City at various shoot locations and area haunts through Dec. 24. The following are some of the actors you’ll see on the screen next spring and possibly around town through the end of the week.
•• Virginia Madsen: Perhaps best known for her role as Maya in the 2004 movie “Sideways,” Virginia Madsen is no stranger to Wilmington. This is the third TV movie she has done in this area. The others were “Linda” in 1993 and “Ambushed” in 1997. She also appeared on the 2003 season finale of “Dawson’s Creek.”
Madsen plays Police Chief Judy Hammer in “Hornet’s Nest.” Clad in a knee-length black dress and sheer wrap and sporting bright-white sneakers between takes during a ballroom scene at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside last week, she gushed about the Port City.
“It’s just a beautiful place,” Madsen said with a sense of sincerity and warmth. “I’m very happy that they haven’t built it up too much. This town is such a wonderful combination of small-town feeling but with show business.”
In fact, she loves it here so much she asked to stay in the heart of downtown rather than being in a more remote location away from the city’s center. You’re likely to find Madsen sitting at the bar at Caffe Phoenix, an eatery she confessed she’d visited almost every day during her stay thus far. She recalls it fondly from her previous visits.
“I like the staff, and the food is wonderful,” Madsen said. “I’ve never had a bad meal there.”
She’s also a fan of Tower 7 in Wrightsville Beach. Madsen’s sentiment for the local film community matches her love for the area. She beamed when talking about the “Hornet’s Nest” crew.
“They just know how to do it here,” Madsen said. “The crews have an ease with one another and so they work faster. They really are professional, and they know what they’re doing.”
•• TNT has greenlit an original movie adaptation of the chart-topping bestseller Hornet’s Nest, a novel by America’s #1 crime novelist, Patricia Cornwell, whose works have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. Virginia Madsen and Sherry Stringfield have been cast to star in Hornet’s Nest, which will premiere next spring as part of the TNT Mystery Movie Night, the network’s new showcase of movies adapted from contemporary crime novels.
“Hornet’s Nest” was a No. 1 New York Times best-seller. It is the first in Cornwell’s series of mysteries featuring reporter Andy Brazil, as well as Police Chief Judy Hammer and her top deputy, Virginia West.
“Set in Charlotte, N.C., the story opens with everyone desperate to solve the latest crisis: a serial killer is specializing in out-of-town businessmen. Hammer and West make the murder investigation their top priority. But West is less than pleased when Hammer pairs her up with Brazil, a cub reporter assigned to cover the police department”.
Kevin Spacey (The Men Who Stare at Goats), Camilla Belle (10,000 B.C.) and Heather Graham (Son of Morning) star in Father of Invention, a 2011 comedy that is on DVD and Blu-ray less than two weeks after the movie’s premiere as a limited release in theaters on Oct. 14.
Spacey stars as eccentric inventor turned ego-driven infomercial guru Robert Axl. After one of his inventions, the “Ab-Clicker,” maims thousands of customers, a class-action lawsuit lands him in jail for the next 10 years. Newly released, Axle is ready to redeem his name and hopefully rebuild his billion-dollar empire. But first he must convince his estranged 22-year-old daughter (Belle) to let him live with her and her roommates, as well as find that one “fabrication” that will redeem him.
Directed and co-written by Trent Cooper (Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector), the movie co-stars Johnny Knoxville (TV’s Jackass), John Stamos (TV’s ER), Craig Robinson (Hot Tub Time Machine) and Virginia Madsen (Sideways, Red Riding Hood).
Directed by Trent Cooper (“Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector”), the film co-stars Camilla Belle, Heather Graham, Virginia Madsen, Craig Robinson and Johnny Knoxville.
The official synopsis: “Kevin Spacey is Robert Axle, an eccentric inventor turned egomaniacal infomercial guru, who loses it all when one of his inventions maims thousands of customers. After eight years in a maximum security prison, Axle is ready to redeem his name and rebuild his billion dollar empire. But first, he must convince his estranged 22-year old daughter (Belle) to let him live with her and her quirky, over-protective roommates.”
After premiering at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2010, the film ran into trouble finding a domestic distributor, although it did land a TV and DVD deal in Italy.
Earlier than reported here, filming for “Summer at Dog Dave’s” began Thursday in Greenwood Lake. At center, pointing, is director Rob Reiner (“When Harry Met Sally,” “The Bucket List”). The film stars Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen.
Jim Moore, husband of Greenwood Lake Mayor Barbara Moore, is pulling an antique boat through the scene Reiner is directing in this photo. The film is taking place in the fictional Belle Isle Village, reason for the sign on the sidewalk.
“Summer at Dog Dave’s” will be filming in Greenwood Lake until Aug. 10.