Traverse City Record-Eagle

Arts & Entertainment

May 31, 2013

Leland filmmakers create story about people's stories

TRAVERSE CITY — If you ask Rebecca Reynolds to name the three biggest challenges of filming “Girl on the Train,” she answers in three words.

“Train, pain, rain,” said the co-founder of the Leland-based independent 8180 Films production company that shot the low-budget movie in less than three weeks in April 2012. The sets included a New York train, rented office space, a rented and closed Catholic school and other places around the city.

The train, a big prop, turned out to be a time-consuming problem, Reynolds said. First, the police bomb dog required by the city to sniff through the train was caught up in police roll call meeting at the designated 6 a.m. pickup time. Add malfunctioning train doors plus lost time waiting for a new train, and the original optimistic 14-day filming schedule for the movie turned into 17 days.

“At one time I did ask writer/director Larry Brand why he couldn’t have written a script called ‘Girl in A Cab,’ “ Reynolds said. “You can go on any train in New York with a camera, but if you want to control what happens on it, you have to rent your own.”

On the positive side, New York is filmmaker-friendly and gave the 8180 actors, director and film crew an extra half-day because of the problems, she said.

The pain? Trying to coordinate actors’ schedules and tight scheduling in a city plagued with traffic jams that can be neither predicted nor timed.

The rain spattered nature’s canvas and clouded out a sunset after the film crew got permission to film it from the top of a tall building.

But neither Reynolds, nor other 8180 Films principals — husband Jim Carpenter, her long-time writing partner Larry Brand, and executive producer Ross Satterwhite — are complaining. They’re busy.

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