More than 600 movie extras filled Kelowna Community Theatre on Friday morning during the final week of shooting for the Lifetime movie A Daughter's Nightmare. Production assistant Wendy Ord, right, and director Vic Sarin, with beard, standing to Ord's right, conducted several rehearsals before filming of the country concert scene began.
The 600 extras who filled Kelowna Community Theatre on Friday morning, not so much. At least they did what they were told, right on cue.
It was the final week of shooting for the latest Lifetime movie, A Daughter's Nightmare, and Sepia Films needed extras for a scene at a mock country music concert featuring the Dixie Chicks (played by local actresses).
Director Vic Sarin and first assistant director Wendy Ord organized a rehearsal for the extras, explaining they should do mute talking - mouth words without making any sound as if they were chatting at a real concert - so the camera could hear the actors' lines.
As the first rehearsal began, Ord played concert announcer and told everyone via her PA that the concert was about to begin and everyone should turn off their cellphones.
Right on cue, all 600 extras simultaneously stopped what they were doing and turned their phones off - to laughter from Ord and Sarin since that would never happen at a real concert. Once that was explained and everyone had a good laugh, subsequent rehearsals went smoothly and filming began.
Jon Summerland, Okanagan Film Commission commissioner, was ecstatic at the turnout.
"It's fantastic. This is a really spectacular day for us. I've been on sets in Vancouver where you try to get people out - and you even pay them $50 a day - and you get 10 people. Nobody cares. This is so exciting for the Okanagan area. I really hope they have a good time because I've got another film on Nov. 12 that needs extras."
The Okanagan is an ideal movie location because it can cost $2 million to film in the Valley versus $10 million in the U.S., said Summerland, estimating a movie crew will spend on average $125,000 a day when shooting on location. This crew is spending 18 days in the Okanagan.
"We've some Oscar-winning crew members that live in our town, probably about 400 crew members (total), so you can get about two films going at one time," Summerland added.
Local resident Marlies Venier played one of the Dixie Chicks, "the sparkly girl up there pretending to play violin" during the mock concert.
"It's pretty awesome to have a movie filming in Kelowna. It doesn't happen very often so this is pretty exciting for everybody. Everyone is super-excited about this scene. It's fun," she said.
Venier used to do movie casting "and some other little bits and pieces, usually behind the scenes," she admitted. "So it's kind of fun to be doing this in front of the scenes. People are excited to see the Dixie Chicks."
And how realistic will her performance be? "I did play violin when I was young and my daughter plays violin. She gave me a quick lesson so it's going to be very realistic," Venier said with a laugh.
"I can't believe I got the violin. It's like one of the toughest ones to fake. Everyone's ears are going to be bleeding if I touch the strings."
The two main characters also seemed to be enjoying their time in the city.
"Kelowna is wonderful. We're having a really good time," said Osment. "It's actually very peaceful. It's not like L.A., that's for sure."
"Obviously, there are less people. It's been fun; it's been amazing," added Sulkin. "I think we're excited to get back to LA., but Kelowna's been cool."
"I came here to see Gregg," said extra Megan McGowan, 12, with a giggle. "He's really hot. He said 'Hi,'" she added, admitting her heart skipped a beat at that moment.
McGowan and her friends volunteered because their school was not in session due to a professional development day.
The thriller is the third installment of the Vancouver-based production company's Nightmare franchise that also includes A Sister's Nightmare and A Mother's Nightmare, which proved to be the most watched Lifetime movie of 2012.
All three films have used the Okanagan Valley as their backdrop, and brought recognition to many local businesses as well as the Okanagan as a world_class filming location, said Summerland.
A Daughter's Nightmare cast features Kelowna native Paul Johansson (One Tree Hill) along with Osment (Hannah Montana, Spy Kids 2 & 3D), Sulkin (Pretty Little Liars, Wizards of Waverly Place), Victoria Pratt (Mutant X) and Richard Karn (Home Improvement).