VIRGINIA — The small commotion of camera and production crews and blackout blinds surrounding the West Side Barber Shop near Silver Creek Liquor Monday afternoon turned heads of some passing motorists and walkers enjoying the sunny day.
Inside was Christopher Lloyd of the famed television series “Taxi” and motion picture “Back to the Future.”
Once again, a movie is being shot on the Iron Range.
This time it is an independent film — “I Am Not A Serial Killer” — based on the 2009 thriller novel of the same name by horror fiction writer Dan Wells.
Filming began Feb. 28. The movie is
being shot primarily in the Virginia area, until mid-March, and will feature a number of local extras. Additionally, there was a recent casting call for small parts in the picture.
Extras for a bowling scene to be shot Wednesday morning are currently being sought.
The $1.45 million film is being directed by Billy O’Brein, who grew up in Ireland. Irish filmmakers Nick Ryan and Robbie Ryan are the producer and cinematographer.
In addition to Lloyd, the movie stars Max Records, who played in the film “Where the Wild Things Are,” and Tim Russell of the radio show “A Prairie Home Companion.”
“I Am Not A Serial Killer” tells the story “of a young boy from a small town whose family owns a mortuary,” said Jakk Netland, the film’s line producer from Minneapolis. “He is obsessed with death and serial killers.”
His family sends the teenager to get help, she said, and “strange murders start taking place.” However, there are questions as to whether or not he is committing them.
O’Brein “adapted it from the book,” and Wells will be on set for part of the filming, Netland said.
In the book, the story takes place in North Dakota — in “a town past its glory years” — and the producers wanted to shoot in the upper Midwest, said Netland. Many of the scenes require snow, she said.
The Range was chosen in part because of the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board’s Film Production Incentive program, which will reimburse up to $92,900 for eligible expenses within the agency’s service area.
“It’s been such a wonderful experience,” Netland said of shooting the movie in the area, noting that whatever the crew has needed has been provided — from finding a ball gown in the wardrobe at the Lyric Center for the Arts to a teenage kid’s room to shoot scenes at a home in Mountain Iron to a trailer for the cast.
The Coates Plaza Hotel in Virginia is providing a production office as well as daily breakfast, Netland said.
The movie is being shot on 16 millimeter film, which is rather unusual in today’s world, Netland said. But the producers wanted the movie to “have a certain look,” she said.
Netland expects filming to conclude in the Virginia area around March 20, with a couple additional weeks spent in Minneapolis for some of the “fall scenes.”
It will then go into post production for five or six months in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Producers are aiming to debut the movie next year at film festivals, such as the Sundance festival.
The IRRRB reimbursement component includes:
• The IRRRB will reimburse 20 percent on eligible expenditures in the IRRRB service area, with a cap of $500,000 per production.
• Production must begin in the IRRRB service area within 12 months of the project being approved.
• At least $20,000 must be spent within the IRRRB service area.
• The IRRRB logo must appear in on-screen credits, and the agency is permitted to identify the production in its marketing and promotion, with two to three production photos provided for use on the IRRRB website and in publications.
Those interested in being an extra in the movie are asked to send a photo, email and phone number to email@example.com.