Mired in kitsch …
I recently worked on the set of Longmire, a new television series for the A&E network starring Robert Taylor. Filming in the Santa Fe area, the show is based on the hero of the Craig Allen Johnson novel series, Sheriff Walt Longmire.
For two days, I was on hand as a production assistant—that means gofer—for the locations department at the Valles Caldera. And from what I could make out, the story revolves around a rugged, Caucasian, individualist sheriff who lives in the mountains, drives a dirty old Bronco, carries a repeater rifle and solves crimes. Katee Sackhoff plays the sheriff's attractive, young, female deputy. (In TV land, all female cops tend to be hot.)
During filming, I witnessed a rather disturbing scene in which a gang of urban thugs accompanied by another sexy young girl—who just happen to be hanging out in the wilderness—horribly beat up an unlucky youth and then put a gun to his head. What happens next is left to viewers' imaginations, but I couldn't help but think that Longmire's producers had boringly derived the scene from the following formula: violent crime divided by macho cop plus sexy partner equals justice.
Overall, my experience with Longmire only strengthened my conviction that Los Angeles-based television and movie producers ran out of original ideas long ago. But Hollywood also seems to be one of the few industries hiring. If you’re interested in a job as an extra, contact Robert Baxter at email@example.com.
Speaking of long …
Another project I’ve had the inside track on is the film Family Bands, which also has a big Santa Fe component. Writer and director Michael John Gabriel describes the film as “Glee meets The Partridge Family with a side of The Bangles,” so we should expect plenty of wholesome, foot-tapping pop tunes and great hair. The plot: Conflicts arise between generations of successful pop bands who all happen to be related. Will love and communication overcome before the conflict devastates not only their bands, but also their relationships?
Open auditions for this movie (in which I participated) began in early December. Callbacks were in March. Filming is scheduled for this summer. Gabriel originally indicated in the call that auditions may be held in 18 or more cities, but that estimate seems to have been siphoned down to two: Los Angeles and Santa Fe, the primary shooting locations.
Sarah Lonsert, an attractive teen prodigy, is set to play a lead role. Local folk-rock musician Jono Manson has recently been selected as the music director. I may be SOL after Gabriel reads this article, but at least other locals are getting the goods.
Bad Gunn in town
Hometown-girl-who-made-it-big-in-LA (that’s Los Angeles, not Alamos), Anna Gunn is back in Santa Fe to do some more filming for Breaking Bad, the Emmy-award winning series on AMC. Chatter in LA circles suggests that Gunn herself may be up for an Emmy. This would prove once and for all that Santa Fe is indeed a breeding ground of commercial talent. Keep your eyes peeled and cameras ready for sightings.
Catch The Skinny blog weekly at SFReporter.com