STEUBENVILLE - A few hundred people from the local area came out Thursday night to see a special advance screening of "Super 8," a Paramount Pictures movie filmed in Weirton and surrounding areas last fall.
Approximately 150 individuals received a ticket to this special event through a drawing organized by the Celebr8 Weirton committee. The remaining seats went to those involved with the committee and others who were involved with the film. Those with tickets were invited to the Fort Steuben Mall where a reception was held from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. Guests got to walk the red carpet before getting a chance to socialize over food and drinks prior to the start of the film.
Pam Haynes of the West Virginia Film Office said nearly 300 people would be in attendance. The film office, she said, played a supportive role in the event as she noted the credit had to be given to the planning committee, the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce and the city for doing the leg-work.
"Without them, this night would not be possible," she said.
Extras casting director Sonya Tormoen returned along with several others to see the film. She said she was excited to be back in the Weirton area to get to see the film with many of those who were extras in the movie.
Of the 20 films on her resume, Tormoen said the filming of "Super 8" was her most precious experience because of the people in Weirton.
ACTOR RETURNS — Actor Ryan Lee, who plays Carey in the film “Super 8,” was on hand for Thursday’s special advance screening at the Carmike Cinemas at the Fort Steuben Mall. Lee posed for pictures with fans and took part in a question-and-answer session following the screening. -- Angelina Dickson
"We felt like part of a family the whole time we were here and Weirton showed me what it means to truly be part of a community," she said. "I am anxious to see the final product alongside those people tonight."
Weirton resident Agnes Mazeska said she and her husband Jack Mazeska had relatives that were extras in the movie. She said she signed up to gain access to the early screening of "Super 8" and was chosen in the drawing and brought her husband with her.
"This is very exciting," she said of the night. "I am just thrilled to death to be here."
"You all were so cooperative in letting us blow up your town. You guys are the friendliest people and I hope you enjoyed making this movie as much as I did."
Ryan Lee, who plays Carey in the film.
Additional photos from the screening can be found through our CU site on www.weirtondailytimes.com
Jack Mazeska said there were many positive ratings about the film and he was anxious to see it.
"It's nice to see Weirton get this kind of attention," he said. "It's been a positive thing for the area and we're here to be a part of it."
Later in the evening, attendees were separated into two theaters for the early screening. Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh, who served as chairman of the Celebr8 Weirton Committee, made some opening remarks including an announcement that Ryan Lee, who played Carey in the film, would be in attendance to make some comments and participate in a questions and answers follow up.
Lee said the most interesting thing to him is seeing the reaction of the audiences to the film. He said the viewing at Carmike Cinemas on Thursday was the fourth or fifth time he'd seen the movie and he wasn't close to being tired of it.
"I'm glad to be back and see so many familiar faces," said Lee. "You all were so cooperative in letting us blow up your town. You guys are the friendliest people and I hope you enjoyed making this movie as much as I did."
Although he could not be there in person, writer and director J.J. Abrams sent a video to be played before the movie. He said the town and the setting is such an important aspect of the film. When he saw pictures of Weirton, he said it was beautiful with the factory in the background and the neighborhoods. While scouting the area prior to filming, he said he found it to be as perfect as he hoped it would be.
"I am grateful to all of you because it wouldn't have been possible without you," he said. "Thank you for all of your time and patience. I hope you like the movie and are as proud to be a part of it as I am."
(Dickson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)