News Local

TV movies to film scenes around Cobourg

By Pete Fisher, Northumberland Today

Jonathan Schwartz

Jonathan Schwartz


Hollywood hits Cobourg for the next several weeks.

Two productions will shoot throughout Cobourg for the next four weeks featuring a number of well-known actors.

The films are for the U.S.-based UP TV, formerly GMC TV (Gospel Music Channel).

"It’s family-friendly programming" supervising producer Jonathan Schwartz said in an exclusive interview on Friday just after arriving in Cobourg.

"These scripts are incredibly wholesome, and one of the challenges is to find a town that represents that."

The production company looked for that "special" town, where you wanted to live in when you showed up," Schwartz said.

"We drove about 1,200 miles in two days looking for a town and when we crossed through Cobourg we said, ‘My God, this is exactly what we pictured.’"

The first movie is called Rocky Road and it's written by Neal and Tippi Dobrofsky.

"They are both extremely talented writers,” Schwartz said. “We work with them as much as we can!"

Rocky Road is a story about a young hot shot Wall Streeter named Harrison (Mark Salling from Glee) who loses his job and expensive lifestyle due to a failed merger. He's forced to move back in with his parents in the small town he’d fled, and take over his old ice cream truck route in his father's dwindling business. Having spent a lifetime looking up to the power brokers of Wall Street and looking down on the simple ways of his small-town father, Harrison starts to appreciate his father's values and find the faith that he lost along the way. Sometimes the best road is the Rocky Road home.

"Mark a tremendous actor,” Schwartz said. “We feel incredibly fortunate to have him star in this film. It’s pretty neat when you find a great script and can attach a great talent like Mark. He’s excited to be here!"

Salling flew into Toronto from Los Angles on Saturday for the start of the production on Monday.

The director of Rocky Road is Primetime Emmy Award winner Brian K. Roberts. (Everybody Loves Raymond, King of Queens).

"Brian has done everything,” Schwartz said. “He’s just created a show called Spun Out that will debut in 2014."

The second movie is called Dear Viola, and stars Kellie Martin from ER and Life Goes On. She was also be the executive producer on the movie.

In the movie, when a local newspaper advice columnist retires, the void is filled by the staff's accountant, Katie. Katie's frank and wonderful advice makes her a favourite in the town, particularly for a recent widow, Russ. Through Russ's inquiries and Katie's advice, the two fall in love with each other's words and, eventually, each other.

"It’s written by Lee Rose and Kathleen McGhee-Anderson,” Schwartz said. “Laurie Lynd will direct."

Other notables appearing in Rocky Road are Robin Duke from SCTV, Saturday Night Live and Groundhog Day, Scott Thompson from Kids In the Hall, Nicholas Campbell from DaVinci's Inquest, and Rebecca Dalton from L.A. Complex.

"This cast is a home-run,” Schwartz said. “It's going to be a great experience."

Filming will take place at a number of venues and parks including Victoria Park, Peace Park, Cobourg Lawn Bowling Club, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, and a number of houses in the area. There will also be a bicycle stunt on King Street.

Ira Pincus is the executive producer on both the shows.

"Ira is the head of Television Movies at Entertainment One,” Schwartz said. “We are all here because of him. He has this incredible ability to keep finding and developing these heartwarming stories. It's a nice change from all the horror and suspense that seem to be everywhere these days."

If people are interested, Schwartz said, there are a couple of scenes where it would be great to have people come out as extras.

"We would love people to come out. It will be a lot of fun and when you watch the finished film you will see yourself on TV,” Schwartz said. “We are shooting a great church scene on Tuesday, Sept. 17. Feel free to come anytime, but our major interior scene in the church will start around 3:30 p.m."

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