By Rick Coates
During recent road construction on US 23 heading into Cheboygan, the electronic road signs flashed: Warning Zombies Ahead!... Dont Worry It Is Just Wade.
The sign was referencing the filming of the action horror film Wade.
My parents called me when they saw the sign thinking I had something do with it, but we didnt know anything about it, said Mike Julliet one of the producers of Wade. We are just so excited that the community has embraced this film project.
The excitement continues for Wade, which was originally filmed in 2009 as a 20-minute short to be entered in film festival competitions. After winning several awards at various film festivals, interest in Wade has reached Hollywood.
We have interest now for this film to becoming a full length feature, said Haynze Whitmore, who wrote the screenplay. Now we are making what is called a financial trailer, that will be about seven minutes in length. This trailer is what investors or productions houses such as Lions Gate will use to decide if they are interested in backing the film.
Whitmore and Julliet feel confident that their film will get picked up especially after a few veteran horror film actresses agreed to come to Cheboygan and film the trailer.
We sent the script to Kim Porier, Monique Dupree and Sierra Holmes and they have all agreed to come into Cheboygan this week and film this trailer, said Julliet. In fact they have agreed in concept to star in the full feature.
Porier, Dupree and Holmes will film at various locations throughout the community Thursday through Sunday. All three actresses are household names in the horror film genre.
Kim Poirier is 31 and from Canada and has been in several films and TV shows, she is probably best known for being in the film the New Dawn of the Dead, but she has also starred in a lot of stuff on the SyFy Network and on the hit sitcom Mad Men, so we are very lucky to have her for this, said Juliet. Plus we have Monique Dupree known as the First Black Scream Queen. In addition to all of her horror film work she was in Lean On Me with Morgan Freeman and The Replacements with Keanau Reeves and Gene Hackman.
Whitmore and Juliet are also excited about rising star Sierra Holmes joining the cast.
She is probably best know for her butt, laughs Julliet. She is the butt model on the Levi Jeans commercials. Plus she has been staring in the VH1 series Scream Queens, and she just landed a big role in the Piranha 3DD that is currently being filmed.
When the 20 minute short of Wade was filmed in December of 2009 the producers used local talent and that will be the case for the trailer and eventually the full feature.
We need to use major actors to star in the film. This will attract the production companies and it will also attract moviegoers, these ladies in particular Poirier and Dupree have a following, said Whitmore. We will still need several local actors for the film; in fact for this trailer we are looking for extras to play zombies, we dont need people to be as beautiful as these three stars; we are looking for people of all ages shapes and sizes.
Julliet also points out that the final product will be filmed in Cheboygan, Haynze wrote this screenplay to take place in Cheboygan and we will film it here and around Northern Michigan, said Juliet. We are not sure of the total price tag but we feel that we have all the pieces in place to make this look like it was a multi-million dollar project that may only cost a million dollars or even less. We also hope to land some of the Michigan film incentive money since we will be a smaller budget film.
Wade is a comedic/horror story about a war hero that has to adapt to small-town life after serving years in the armed forces. He takes a job as a bug exterminator and often feels the urge to go head-to-head in combat with the bugs using army artillery. Disaster strikes when a chemical company illegally spills a bizarre toxic waste that turns people into the living dead. Wade has to go back to his roots as a soldier and save this small town from damnation.
So after a couple of years has Whitmore made modifications to the script?
Yes some, but the essential elements are there. Wade is a cocky character and people are attracted to anheypd get attached to Wade, said Whitmore. That is what these actresses told me when they watched the short and when they read the script, they got attached to the Wade character. What we heard at several film festivals we entered the short in was people wanted to know what was going to happen to Wade next, they kept telling us that they were walking out of the film wanting more.
If anyone is interested in being a zombie in the film or assisting in another capacity of the project they should contact Mike Julliet at 231.818.6178. To watch clips from Wade or other film projects of Haynze Whitmore check out his site www.haynzewhitmore.com . Kim Porier, Monique Dupree and Sierra Holmes have all agreed to do meet and greets during their visit to Cheboygan. If you would like to meet the actresses, get photos or autographs, they will be at Johnnys Bar on Thursday July 14 around 9 pm and Mulligans Saturday July 16 around 9 pm.