There was more evidence this week that a film production is indeed getting underway in Durham. Auditions for Main Street were held all week at Durham Convention Center. Two actors confirmed independently that they'd read for parts this week, and that the production is scheduled to begin in April.
The casting agency is Telsey and Company, described by one of our confidants as a
very reputable casting agency out of NYC. They cast lots of Broadway shows and big movies like Sex and the City, Rachel Getting Married, and Milk. I saw them a few times while I was living in NYC [ ... ] They sent one of their casting associates down here to do the initial auditions this week, a really good reader and very nice. She videotapes into a computer, which then gets streamed to NYC. Very similar to what the Fincannons do in Wilmington, and something I'm seeing more and more.
This correspondent also described a diverse casting call, suggesting that this movie's Durham may be less white than it was in 1988 when Bull Durham was released.
I was up against Asians, African-Americans, all types and ages, etc., so the field is pretty wide open. Very typical videotaped in-and-out audition, from which they'll narrow the field to meet with the director at callbacks. Pretty standard fare.
Both of our correspondents report that the advertised stars are Colin Firth, Ellen Burstyn and Patricia Clarkson (that's an aggregate of six Oscar nominations and one win).
However, one of them cautioned about the casting, "you might want to say 'rumored' or something like that since I'm not sure how much of the info on the leads, etc. is true and how much is out there to raise money."
As it happens, this film project appears on none of these actors' imdb.com pages. The imdb.com entry for the film itself is minimal, listing only the screenwriter, director and production company. (It seems the film's title has been shortened from Main Street USA.) The script is by two-time Oscar winner Horton Foote (Tender Mercies, To Kill a Mockingbird). John Doyle, best known as a stage director, is set to direct. The production company is Reliant Pictures, which was set up two years ago by Thom Mount, Durham native and producer of Bull Durham.
The most informative item on the film's imdb.com entry is the following plot summary, which provides a protagonist's name and otherwise confirms what has been reported about the film's content in the Independent and elsewhere.
From the once thriving tobacco warehouses, to the current run-down and closed shops of Five Points, a diverse group of residents and their respective life changes when outsider Gus Leroy brings something new and potentially dangerous into their quiet town.
Our other correspondent also described an ordinary audition, and passed along some official production information, which reads in part:
MAIN STREET, a feature film starring Ellen Burstyn, Patricia Clarkson and Colin Firth, is a movie that will be filming in Durham, NC this Spring. Our casting office will be in Durham, NC the week of Feb 23-Feb 27. A large portion of the cast will be LOCAL HIRES.