WEIRTON - Paramount Pictures has chosen Weirton and surrounding areas as the location of a film titled "Wickham."
According to a press release issued by the West Virginia Film Office, filming is anticipated to occur from late September to mid-October. The PG-13 rated movie is about a group of teens who spend the summer together and deal with the struggles of growing up in a 1979 steel town after a train crash forces the town to come together.
Mayor Mark Harris said he is glad to see that Weirton was chosen as the location for the film. He said most of the filming will take place downtown but some will take place on Weirton Heights and Marland Heights.
"One of the things they liked was how clean Main Street was," he said, noting the recent Main Street project. "They'll also be working with police to close down several roads throughout the day as filming takes place so we are asking residents to bear with us."
Gov. Joe Manchin had previously contacted Paramount executives to encourage the studio to film in the state.
"I'm pleased that Paramount Pictures recognizes West Virginia's assets and selected us for their on-location shoot," stated Manchin. "The state is eager to work with the company and assist them as needed."
Sonya "Sonny" Tormoen of Sonny Productions will be working in the area to cast extras in the movie.
She said she will be at the Marland Heights 5K Classic to make announcements and answer questions for those who are interested in being a part of the film. She said she also plans to have an open casting call for extras - non-speaking roles - within the next week or two.
"We're looking for a lot of middle school and high school aged people, police, soldier and EMT types as well as townspeople," she said. "If you're a part of the town you can be a part of the movie."
Tormoen said it is a period piece so everyone chosen will be fit in clothes from the 1970's. She said another thing being sought for "Wickham" is cars. She said there is a need for cars ranging from the mid-60s to 1979.
Anyone interested in being a part of the extras cast or helping can email Sonya Tormoen at email@example.com. She said to be ahead of the curve, interested parties can send current snapshots and current height, weight and measurements.
The West Virginia Film Office has been working with Paramount since May on scouting locations throughout the state, Film Office Director Pam Haynes said. Paramount is participating in the West Virginia Film Industry Act, a tax credit program designed to recruit business into the state.
"The film office staff fought hard to bring this production into the state and we could not have done it without the incredible support we have received from numerous city, county and state officials as well as business leaders throughout the Northern Panhandle," Haynes said. "We are equally grateful for the support shown by the residents of the entire area."
Haynes further said that the West Virginia portion of filming represents all of the on-location filming for the film. The remainder will be shot in Los Angeles.
(Dickson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)