|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
Pillar of Light :: Movie Extras :: Article Archive
Pillar of Light :: Movie Extras :: The Work And The Glory

Pillar of Light Movie Extras

Article Archive

Here is a forum/guestbook you may use.
The Work and The Glory Forum

Please share any of your pictures:
Contact me and I will let you know where/how to send your photographs.
I will also be happy to link to your photographs.
Email: pillaroflightmovie@yahoo.com


~ Homepage ~

November 19, 2004

The Work and the Money

The LDS epic 'The Work and the Glory' opens Wednesday
By Jeff Vice
Deseret Morning News

With an $8 million budget, "The Work and the Glory" is the most expensive independent local movie ever made. And the risk is not lost on the filmmakers.

An elaborate set to represent upstate New York during the 1820s was built in Tennessee for the filming of "The Work and the Glory."

"That might not sound like a lot of money, especially when you're talking about $100 million budgets for major Hollywood movies," said producer Scott Swofford, "but for us, this constitutes a major investment." He quickly added that it was necessary, however the "bare minimum" for which a quality period film of this magnitude could be made. Local audiences will be able to judge for themselves beginning Wednesday, when the film opens around the state. "Obviously, a budget of a million dollars is the financial scenario under which you're going to be successful and make your money back," Swofford said. "But if we made this picture for a million dollars, people would be burning the book in the streets, and us in effigy. So it really had to be a larger film, epic in nature, and it had to look incredible." Fortunately, Swofford and screenwriter/director Russ Holt (best known for the 1987 LDS Church film "How Rare a Possession") had a patron saint of sorts, in the person of local businessman/entrepreneur Larry H. Miller, who agreed to serve as executive producer and foot most of the bills.
more...

Tuesday August 03, 2004

'Work and Glory' film set for 2005 release
By Nick Ihli
NewsNet Staff Writer

"Rooooooollllllling!"

The word screeched loudly from the production assistant as he alerted the production crew that the filming of a scene has commenced.

This responsibility, called a "lock down," keeps the area clear from "bogies," film crew who might inadvertently wander into the framed shot.

For six weeks in Tennessee, Jimmy Anderson bellowed that word as the production assistant on the set of the new film "Pillar of Light: The Work and The Glory."

"My voice was sore the first three or four days," Anderson said. "I have never yelled so loud in my life."

Anderson has always loved film. He especially enjoys the behind-the-scenes happenings of a film- the story behind the story. This love created his dream of being a film director.

"You have to understand all aspects of filmmaking to be a director," he said. "It covers everything."

Anderson received his first chance to see what filmmaking is actually like when Scott Swofford, "Pillar's" producer and producer of other films such as "Legacy" and "The Testaments: Of One Fold and One Shepherd," hired him as an intern.

Along with locking up the set, he also performed any task needed. He made copies of the call sheet and shooting schedule. He said he even got sunflowers seeds for the first assistant director- with no salt.

"The set was tons crazier than I ever would have imagined," he said. "It was organized chaos."

The film is based on the popular historical fiction series, "The Work and The Glory," by Elder Gerald N. Lund, who acted as a consultant on the film adaptation. This first film is based on the first book in the series titled "Pillar of Light." It follows the early progress of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints. A fictional family is the focus along the backdrop of the restoration.

Manchester Films, a production studio formed by the movie director, Russ Holt, financer Larry Miller and Swofford is producing the film. Some of Holt's past works also include the film made by the church, "The Lamb of God."

Filming for the movie has wrapped, and the filmmakers are in the post-production process. The film is scheduled for a limited release this November with a more nationwide release in 2005.

Anderson said the production crew hopes this film will be the first movie based on Mormons that breaks through to national audiences.

Cammon Randle, a communications major from Provo, worked as a lighting technician intern on the set. He also said the set gave him a good experience. Anderson and Randle caravanned to Tennessee and became good friends as they worked together.

On the set, he learned film is more of a business instead of an art. Anderson said you may have the most imaginative idea, but that idea needs to be funded and production crews need to be paid. If filmmaking is your job, that idea needs to make you money, Anderson said.

Just like the words he screamed on "Pillar's" set, Jimmy's dreams are rolling along. He just finished working on a church DVD and is preparing a couple of scripts for his own short films.

"Our films need to speak for something," Anderson said. "When we do get a voice we cannot forget what we want to say."

http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/51590

This story was posted on

Tuesday, August 3 2004 NewsNet. All rights reserved.


Saturday, May 01, 2004 - 12:00 AM

Work is 'Glory' for quartet of actors
Cody Clark THE DAILY HERALD

The producers of the forthcoming film adaptation of Gerald Lund's "The Work and the Glory" series of historical novels are hoping to take audiences by surprise. They haven't changed the story or characters -- put down those rotten tomatoes -- but they did make a conscious effort to cast actors with fresh faces.

In other words, don't be expecting Kirby Heyborne as Joseph Smith. And stop fretting about the possibility of one more Jimmy Chunga or Johnny Biscuit cameo.

Four of the principal cast members recently took a break from filming to offer insight on their participation in what may turn out to be the LDS cinema event of 2004.

Alexander Carroll as Nathan Steed -- Carroll is a Hollywood newcomer, a college graduate with a degree in chemistry who only got interested in acting during the last couple of semesters prior to graduation. "I just felt that there was something missing," he said in a telephone interview from Tennessee. "I started doing a little acting."

Carroll was raised Catholic but said that he's attended church services only sporadically since leaving college. Both the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the "Work and the Glory" books are things that he's learning about for the first time. He read parts of "Pillar of Light," the first "Work and the Glory" novel, prior to filming and said that he's currently working through it from Page 1.

The key to Nathan Steed, as Carroll sees it, is Nathan's ground-level acceptance of Joseph Smith and the Smith family. "It's his ability to see that these were good people," Carroll said. "Nathan knew and respected Joseph Smith before he learned anything about the gold plates."

With no prior feature film experience, Carroll is learning his craft on the job. So far, he hasn't regretted branching out from his background in the sciences: "I come home at the end of each day and it's like, 'That's the coolest day yet.' "

Tiffany Dupont as Lydia McBride -- In 2003's "Cheaper by the Dozen," Dupont played the small-town girlfriend left behind by "Smallville" stud Tom Welling, who appeared as Charlie, the second-eldest of the dozen Baker kids -- in other words, if you picked the wrong moment to get popcorn, then you probably don't remember her at all.

Scanty screen time won't be a problem for Dupont this time around: Lydia McBride is the most important female character in the movie. Dupont is intrigued by Lydia's intelligence, and also her rough-and-ready resourcefulness. "She shoots a gun and rides a horse," Dupont said. "She's got a lot more to her than people of her time might have expected, and I love that about her."

When it came time to learn horseback riding, the 23-year-old actress demonstrated that she, like Lydia, has some frontier pluck, riding like a pro after only a couple of days' work. "The wranglers were really impressed," she confided. Dupont, who attended college at the University of Georgia, will also get to play the violin during the movie, a skill she's practiced for a number of years.

She knows that millions of "Work and the Glory" fans have already formed their own mental picture of Lydia as a movie character, but said that she finds that exciting rather than intimidating. Besides, she's already been given full approval from the highest possible authority: "The most comforting thing was hearing from Gerald Lund that I'm exactly what he wanted Lydia to be."

Eric Johnson as Joshua Steed -- Like Dupont, Johnson has a connection to "Smallville," the WB TV series about a teenaged, pre-Superman Clark Kent. During the show's first season, he played Whitney Fordman, the handsome jock who vies with Clark for the affection of Lana Lang before leaving town to join the Marine Corps (Whitney was later reported killed in action).

Thanks to "Smallville," Johnson knows what it's like to be part of a cast that has to do its job while bearing in mind the anxieties and hopes of a large body of devoted, obsessive fans. "The world is full of knowledgeable Superman fans," Johnson recalled, "and everybody had these huge expectations."

On the other hand, he said, it's exciting to work on a project that is important to many people before they even see it: "There's a certain amount of pride in that."

Johnson, 24, recalled seeing LDS commercials while watching Saturday-morning TV as a child but says that almost everything else that he knows about Mormons has been learned since joining the "Work and the Glory" film project.

Playing the black sheep of the Steed family, Johnson said, is something that he relishes: "You get to do and say things that you wouldn't say in real life." He's also excited about Joshua's action scenes, and excited just to be doing a period film (an experience he found equally enjoyable while working on the 2001 release "Texas Rangers").

"It's like playing dress-up when you're a kid. It's really a blast."

Jonathan Scarfe as Joseph Smith -- There are probably enough books about Joseph Smith to stock a respectable home library, but the volume that Scarfe chose to prepare himself for filming is historian David McCullough's "John Adams." Scarfe said that his hope was to get authentic information about the period, rather than simply acting out his own ideas about early 19th century New Englanders.

He might have read "Pillar of Light," too, if only he'd known what it was. "I didn't even know there was a book until I got here," Scarfe said, sounding a bit sheepish. "I had no idea the movie was an adaptation."

Longtime fans of TV's "ER" may recognize the 28-year-old Canadian -- he appeared in a handful of fourth-season episodes and one seventh-season episode as the cousin of Noah Wyle's Dr. John Carter.

Scarfe is aware that there's a diversity of opinion about LDS Church founder Smith, one of the more colorful figures in 19th century American history. He said that he's avoided biographies and other resources that depict Smith in a way that would seem questionable or unfavorable to his latter- day adherents. As Scarfe sees it, "My job is to play the guy who's in the script, and the guy who's in the script is the prophet of the Mormon church."

This story appeared in The Daily Herald on page B1.

http://www.harktheherald.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=20317

Order The Book Today :: Secure through Amazon.com



On cassette tape!


Music of
The Work And The Glory

Hollywood hits Vonore
2004-05-18

by Steve Wildsmith
of The Daily Times Staff

Like the enchanted village of Brigadoon, it rises from the sloping hills on the border of Monroe and Blount counties as if from another time and place.

A team of horses pulls a wagon across a plank bridge, while a wooden barge, loaded with supplies, comes to rest across a dusty road from the town mercantile. Men in wide-brimmed hats lounge around storefronts, while women wearing plain cotton dresses and bonnets carry armfuls of parcels and packages.

The city is Palmyra, N.Y., in the early 19th century. It isn't real, of course -- but by the time it's projected onto the big screen, it will look every bit as realistic as the town of Walnut Grove, Minn., did on the old television series ``Little House on the Prairie.''

Welcome to the final day of filming on the Vonore set of ``Pillar of Light.'' A $7.4 million picture, the film has created quite a buzz in this sleepy slice of Tennessee and given locals a five-week crash course in film production.

Not a religious film

``Interestingly, the film is set in New York in 1826 in the script, but right now, it's still really cold in New York,'' said producer Scott Swofford on Saturday, as a massive set of 60 extras, several stars and countless crew members labored to perfect a special effects shot behind him. ``By filming it here in Tennessee, we didn't have to wait for upstate New York to thaw. And we have people working on the set who grew up in upstate New York.

``The landscape here looks so similar that they say they half expect to turn the corner and see their favorite fishing hole from back where they grew up.''

Swofford, along with director Russ Holt and Utah auto executive Larry H. Miller, are the driving forces behind ``Pillar of Light,'' the first novel in Gerald Lund's best-selling ``The Work and the Glory'' series that portrays events in the early history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints.

Think of the books -- nine in all -- as a sort of ``Left Behind'' series for the Mormon faith, and you have an idea of the spiritual overtone of the books and the forthcoming film, Swofford said.

``We like to make the claim that `The Work and the Glory' is the largest and most-read historical fiction series,'' Swofford said. ``It's sold 2 million copies, and it has a really, really loyal following of readers.''

Whereas the ``Left Behind'' books give a science fiction twist to future events surrounding the biblical prophecies of Armageddon, ``The Work and the Glory'' tells of events from the past, using a fictional family as the anchor of the stories. According to Swofford, the human elements at play in the books will help the film appeal to a broader audience than the Mormon church.

``To go beyond the readership of the book and do everything we can to expand beyond the books' target audience, we had to spend a lot,'' he said. ``We had no interest at all in making a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints promotional film. We thought that the book happens to be universal enough to stand as a good film on its own.

``Films thrive on conflict and romance, and we use all of those same tools in this film. We feel like there's a universal appeal to a story of bigotry, and families torn apart by faith. With a love story and a father-son controversy and the idea of a town vs. a new idea, we think it works. Religious persuasion will not be the central theme.''

Holt, the film's director, has few credits mainstream moviegoers will recognize. He has, however, directed the LDS Church-produced films ``How Rare a Possession: The Book of Mormon'' and ``The Lamb of God.'' And Lund, author of the series, has worked as a media production supervisor in the LDS Church Education System.

But Lund, who also adapted his novel for the screenplay, tells the story from the perspective of outsiders to the Mormon faith, Swofford said.

``The cool thing is that he made sure the whole exposure to the church is from the point of view of non-followers,'' Swofford said. ``We think it casts a skeptical eye and an evenhanded approach toward spiritual issues.''

New York in South

``Quiet on the set!''

The call rings out along the fictional Canal Street of the make-believe town of Palmyra. Holt is shooting what's known as a ``matte'' shot, designed to be filled in later using computer-generated images. The end result will be a Canal Street that looks much longer and busier on the big screen.

It's the only effects-heavy shot in the film, Swofford said, but one that's needed given the film's limited budget.

``You'd be surprised how, on a wide-screen format, details you never think are visible become visible,'' Holt said, explaining why he cuts the shot numerous times, only to make seemingly insignificant changes in the placement of extras. ``It's quite an expense to get everyone in wardrobe, and you want to see it all.

``You want to get the maximum motion and atmosphere from each shot, and as a director, you're trained to look for dead areas -- places in the shot where nothing is going on that will distract from the story. We want it to look natural and real and very busy.''

One of the reasons the fake city looks so real is because of the work of local laborers. Swofford said that the filmmakers hired 100 local carpenters and technicians, pumping $2.5 million into the local economy and giving roughly 100 extras about 700 hours of work.

``We feel obligated to the people of East Tennessee,'' Holt said. ``The locals have been wonderful, and we've said over and over how glad we are we came here to film.

``This area is beautiful, and it's given us everything we've hoped for. The light here has a soft, filtered quality to it, and the wilderness is pristine. East Tennessee looks more like western New York in the 1800s than western New York does.''

Filming wrapped in Vonore -- on a large section of property in the Corntassel community, off Niles Ferry Road -- on Saturday, and the crew moved on to Johnson City over the weekend. Filmmakers hope to complete principal photography by June, and Holt would like to finish with all post-production work by October.

The plan, Swofford said, is to have the film ready for theaters by the end of the year. The marketing plan is a modest one -- about 100 prints of the film in 60 markets to begin with -- but he's hopeful that word-of-mouth will boost the independent feature's success, like it did for the runaway small-budget film ``My Big Fat Greek Wedding.''

And if all goes according to plan, Swofford and his partners hope to open a print of the film locally.

``Because it was filmed locally, and because so many departments have been filled out by local help, we feel we owe it to the community to get back here and show the finished production,'' he said. ``We'll see how it evolves.''

In the meantime, the fictional town of Palmyra will stand. Because with any luck, Holt said, ``Pillar of Light'' will make enough money to call for a sequel. There are, after all, nine books in the series.

``We definitely hope to be back,'' Holt said.

http://www.thedailytimes.com/sited/story/html/164026

'Work' in progress Movie version of popular pioneer page-turners now rolling Date May 01, 2004

Cody Clark
THE DAILY HERALD

On Oct. 1, filmmakers Russ Holt and Scott Swofford and Utah automotive mogul Larry H. Miller sat down at a news conference to announce a $7.4 million adaptation of "Pillar of Light," the first of Gerald Lund's best-selling historical novels depicting events in the early history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A little more than six months later, on April 13, principal photography on the first film in what producers hope will become a multi-picture franchise kicked off at a ranch 30 miles outside of Knoxville, Tenn.

That's big news in Utah Valley, where interest in Lund's epic-length "The Work and the Glory" series remains intense despite the nearly six-year interval since the publication of its concluding volume, "All is Well."

The Orem Public Library, for example, currently has 58 copies of the nine "Work and the Glory" books in its collection, which have circulated, in total, slightly more than 4,200 times. As of April 23, eight of the library's 11 copies of "Pillar of Light" were checked out.

That would suggest that the series, which boasts worldwide sales of more than 2 million copies, is still attracting new fans. Fans like Holt, who read "Pillar of Light" with his family in the fall of 2002.

"I saw the impact that it had on our teenage children, especially on our boys," Holt said in a telephone interview from the set of the movie. "I felt that the story had enormous potential as a feature film."

Holt, who adapted "Pillar of Light" for the screen and is also directing the new film, may not be recognizable by name to "Work and the Glory" fans, but odds are that most of them have seen his work. He previously directed the LDS Church-produced films "How Rare a Possession: The Book of Mormon" and "The Lamb of God" (initially created as an LDS seminary video titled "To This End Was I Born").

"The Lamb of God," coincidentally, was written by Lund, then serving as a media production supervisor in the LDS Church Education System. Hence, author and filmmaker had already been acquainted for a number of years when Holt and Swofford approached Lund about acquiring the "Work and the Glory" movie rights.

Lund, who visited the Tennessee set prior to the start of filming, guessed that he had been pitched on "Work and the Glory" movie projects " eight to 10 different times" prior to his meeting with Holt and Swofford. Having committed a decade of his life to writing the series, Lund was determined to wait for the right movie proposal.

"Once you sell a book in Hollywood," Lund said, "it's called 'the property.' I didn't want somebody to say, 'You've sold us this, thank you very much .'

"I wanted the story told right."

Like many of his contemporaries -- "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling springs to mind -- Lund wanted to retain a degree of control over the movie project. An important factor in his decision to work with Holt and Swofford, Lund said, was an upfront agreement that he would have final say regarding the content of their screenplay.

Which is not to imply that Lund, currently an LDS general authority serving in the presidency of the church's Europe West Area, will be directly involved in production. Having approved the script, he's content to leave the rest to the filmmakers.

Lund's desire of getting things right is shared by Holt, who said he is very aware of the enormous popularity of the "Work and the Glory" books and committed to creating a movie that will meet devoted readers' expectations. The $7.4 million production budget -- the largest yet lavished on any LDS -targeted feature -- has given him considerable creative freedom.

Tennessee was chosen for the filming of scenes that take place in Palmyra, N.Y. "It actually looks more like New York of the early 19th century than New York does," Holt said, adding that the filmmakers are taking great care to create a sense of historical authenticity.

To that end, a number of elaborate sets have been constructed, including replicas of Palmyra's Main and Canal streets. Crews have even mocked up a section of New York's famous Erie Canal -- Palmyra was an important hub -- complete with two horse-drawn canal boats.

Another benefit of the larger-than-usual budget was that it enabled the filmmakers to hire what is described in an April 7 news release as "the most experienced and professional cast ever assembled for this market." Auditions in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Salt Lake City, among other locales, produced a roster of both experienced actors and intriguing newcomers.

Though not the film's main character, LDS Church founder Joseph Smith is an important figure in the story. Smith will be played in the movie by Canadian-born actor Jonathan Scarfe, who, between this role and his appearance as Jesus in the made-for-TV movie "Judas" that aired on ABC earlier this year, could be said to have stumbled into a rather unique rut.

"It sort of freaks me out," said Scarfe, who added that he's most accustomed to finding himself cast as greedy lawyers, nasty WASP yuppies and other nefarious types. "My wife just laughs. She says that I should take it as a compliment."

Scarfe has a long list of television and film credits, as does fellow Canadian Eric Johnson, who will play Joshua Steed, the wayward son of the fictional frontier family who are Lund's main characters.

Prior to joining the production, Johnson had no knowledge of Lund's bestsellers, but said he plans to read at least the first volume soon: "It's sort of a pet peeve of mine, actors who do movies, who haven't read the books."

Whereas Johnson and Scarfe are seasoned actors, two other performers selected for key roles are, in terms of their professional resumes, just getting their feet wet.

Alexander Carroll read for the role of Joshua initially but wound up cast as Joshua's brother, Nathan, the story's principal protagonist. Having appeared only in a handful of TV commercials and one TV pilot, Carroll is so new to the business that Nathan is his first film role.

Carroll became interested in acting a few months prior to graduating from Michigan's Albion College with a degree in chemistry. "I said, 'Mom, Dad, I think I want to move to L.A. and become an actor,' " Carroll recalled. "My original plan was to work for about a year and save money." Then, weeks after arriving in Hollywood, "by coincidence I met this agent and he agreed to represent me."

Holt, who said Carroll was chosen from among dozens of potential candidates, is undeterred by the young actor's lack of experience. Carroll, he said, "has that unique combination of quiet strength and frontier vigor that we wanted in Nathan."

Tiffany Dupont was picked to play Lydia McBride, a woman who first pursues a relationship with Joshua, but later finds herself increasingly drawn to Nathan. Dupont, who has already done Johnson one better by actually reading "Pillar of Light" -- "I read the book on my own," she said, "they didn't ask us to do that" -- has a couple of series television guest appearances and one small feature film role under her belt.

One thing that Scarfe, Johnson, Carroll and Dupont have in common is that none of them is LDS. That's to be expected when casting outside of Utah, of course, but Holt said additionally that one goal of the production was to use actors who wouldn't be immediately recognizable to avid followers of Utah's thriving Mormon cinema subculture.

That doesn't mean there are no LDS actors involved. "We tried to cast as many good LDS actors as we could who haven't been overexposed in this market," Holt said.

An actor from BYU-Idaho will portray Hyrum Smith, and two LDS actors with strong Utah County ties also have roles: Sara Darling has been cast as Emma Smith and John Woodhouse was chosen for the role of Will Murdock, one of the story's principal anti-Joseph Smith antagonists.

With second-unit filming already wrapped, and principal photography expected to be completed before June, everything is currently in line with the filmmakers' goal of a pre-Christmas 2004 theatrical release.

Excel Entertainment, which has released a number of LDS-targeted films including "God's Army," "Brigham City," "Pride and Prejudice" and the forthcoming "Saints and Soldiers," will handle distribution duties.

Holt listed the jobs that will remain once filming wraps: post-production, editing, scoring, sound-mixing and special effects. "We'll be doing all of that until late October, I'm sure," he said. Then test screenings, a final edit, a wing, a prayer and -- voil & aacute;! -- tickets available at a theater near you.

That, of course, is only the first film. There are, don't forget, nine books in the series. Both Holt and Lund are optimistic that additional films will follow. But all concerned are relying on the first film to reap the financial rewards that will, at least in part, cover the cost of future installments.

"We would like to do sequel films that condense some of the later volumes in the series. We plan on doing two or three films in addition to this one," Holt affirmed, "if public response warrants it."

That, no doubt, is what fans of the series want to hear. They'll also be happy to know that at least one important critic is quite pleased with what he's seen so far.

Lund said his visit to the set entirely confirmed his confidence in Holt and Swofford. "My first reaction was, 'Yes, this is what I was hoping would happen.' "

>http://archive.harktheherald.com/archive_detail.php?/ 2004/May/ 01




~ Homepage ~



2004 Pillar of Light :: Movie Extras