Glen Ellen folks going through the Sonoma Developmental Center on Wednesday, found themselves waiting in line for a few minutes as Highway Patrol metered their progress. It seems movie scenes were being shot at the north end of SDC to represent small-town Wisconsin. Filming also occurred around scenic Lake Suttonfield. High-flying drones with cameras, hefty cameramen with expensive equipment, directors with two-way radios: it was all very, well, Hollywood. By the end of the day, they’d got their shots, the Highway Patrol was gone, and traffic was back to normal.
The film, a thriller with a working title of “Breaking In,” is the story of a woman fighting to protect her family during a home invasion. Directed by Australian James McTeigue, known for the 2005 dystopian thriller “V for Vendetta,” it stars Gabrielle Union, Billy Burke, Richard Cabral and others. It was written by Ryan Engle and is scheduled for release in 2018.
Props included a realistic sign reading “Welcome to Lake Constance Wisconsin, population 7393.” In the background of this bucolic tableau is Glen Ellen’s historic steel truss bridge that the late Jim Berkland fought so hard to save. Jim and his pals used to swing from the metal rafters under that bridge as kids, gather crawdads, and dive into the creek when it was deep there.
Glen Ellen has welcomed filmmakers over the years. “Bottle Shock” was filmed in and around the Jack London Saloon in 2008. “Shoot the Moon” (1982) starred Albert Finney and Diane Keaton. “Mumford,” a 1999 romantic comedy by Lawrence Kasdan, was shot on the grounds of SDC. Going way back, scenes from the musical drama “The Magic of Lassie” (1978), where the faithful collie finds her way home from Colorado, starred James Stewart with Mickey Rooney. Jack London himself played a bit part in the 1914 silent film “Valley of the Moon.”
These visitors from Los Angeles were friendly and down to earth, and when asked what they had to say to Glen Ellen, cheerfully replied, “Thank you for letting us share your lovely town!”
Contact BJ Blanchard at firstname.lastname@example.org.