Lights! Camera! Action! Laurel gets a taste of Hollywood

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Story And Photos By Torrey Anderson
Wednesday, November 23, 2022
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The chapel at United Methodist CHurch is converted into a movie set. A hoist provided a base for lighting instruments used to give the inside of the church a bit of a glow.

Allen Polston of Laurel is in costume for his role.

Allen Polston of Laurel is in costume for his role.

Ronald and Andrea Harmon enjoy a break from their roles as church parishioners in “Blood for Dust.”

Ronald and Andrea Harmon enjoy a break from their roles as church parishioners in “Blood for Dust.”

On Nov. 16, Hollywood paid a visit to the United Methodist Church in Laurel, much to the excitement of some lucky locals who were chosen as extras in an upcoming film called “Blood for Dust.” Directed by Rod Blackhurst, the action thriller tells the story of a struggling salesman who reluctantly partners with a former colleague to earn some quick cash delivering a drug shipment. Blackhurst won the Tribeca Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature for his film Here Alone in 2016. He also directed the 2016 Netflix Original Documentary “Amanda Knox.”

“Blood for Dust” stars Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones, 2011-2019), Scoot McNairy (Wonderland, 2003), and Josh Lucas (Sweet Home Alabama, 2002). At the time of this writing, it is unknown which actors, if any, were present in Laurel for the filming, although there were many rumors circulating through the community prior to the shoot. The production was bound by very strict disclosure rules, so this information was not available to The Outlook.

Production crews closed West 4th Street between 3rd and 4th avenue to make room for the numerous vehicles carrying equipment, crew and background actors. A hoist was erected outside the church to provide a base for film lighting that illuminated the church windows, adding ambience to the inside of the chapel where filming took place. In a letter to residents in those areas, Locations manager Thomas Story writes, “The hospitality of Montana’s citizens, the diverse nature of its locations, and the generosity of its residents will help make this filming a success. We cannot accomplish this film without the help of the local community and appreciate your assistance.”

“The process started on the 9th of September with a phone call from the Production Manager,” says Laurel resident Marcia Polston, who acted as a local liaison to coordinate the film crew’s access to the church. “We emailed back and forth getting everything set up.” Polston was on-site during the filming to answer questions, and was first on the scene at 6:30 a.m. to open doors so crews could begin setting up their equipment. The crew ran a pretty tight ship, making sure the filming remained on schedule.

“It takes longer than I thought,” says Laurel resident and background actor Ronald Harmon. Harmon and his wife, Andrea, were cast as church-goers in the filming. They also provided a pickup truck to be used in a scene outside of the church. Ronald will also participate in the filming of a scene at a local stockyard later this month. Harmon jokes about the number of retakes the crew shot in some of the scenes, “It took seven times to get the offering scene right, and we’re in a church.”

“It’s pretty much what I expected, we pretty much knew what it was going to be like, ” says Allen Polston, who was also cast as a church parishioner. “Its been fun.”

Sisters Ava and Emma Greenwell were cast as teenage church-goers, and found the process pretty fascinating. Emma says, “Its really cool to see how movies are made.” Ava echoes that sentiment, saying, “Its amazing to see how much work goes into movies being made. Its a long process and a lot of repetitive action.”

Producer Noah Lang has over

30 film credits under his belt since

2013. He says that after working in the industry for so many years in places like New York and Los

Angeles, film crews “get a little

jaded”. As far as his experience in Laurel goes, he says, ”It feels good coming into such a good community that has been so supportive.

Its the only way a film

like this could get made”

“Blood for Dust” is in production phase and a release date is not yet available.

Outlook photo by Torrey Anderson

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