July 12--LAS CRUCES >> It's a wrap.
Regional scenery and local talent are ready for their debut in the upcoming film, "Southwest," set to be released next year.
"Essentially, it's about following a character, Samantha Williams (a dishonorably discharged U.S. Army captain), through her adventures in the world of crime, except that it's the government that's giving the orders," said Danielle Maitland, who plays the lead character and is also the executive producer of the film.
The story -- set in the Southwest and in Las Vegas, Nev. as the crime capital -- is told in a series of flashbacks from modern day to some of the characters' service
in the U.S. Army on a tour in Afghanistan, scenes that were emulated in El Paso, Sunland Park, Mesilla, Deming, Ruidoso and other regional spots.
The flashbacks fill in the blanks of how the team of characters tie to the past, and give the audience a glimpse into what kind of character each person is, "the good, the bad and the crazy," Maitland said.
According to the film's website, the team in "Southwest" is comprised of hand-picked criminals and ex-military, lead by Maitland as Williams on missions that are morally compromising.
Director, writer and producer Shawn Lecrone pulled from his experience in the U.S. Navy, and reached out to people deployed
to Afghanistan for feedback to make the film as authentic as possible. Personnel from Fort Bliss in El Paso also assisted the crew with the combat scenes featured during the Afghanistan flashback segments of the film.
"It's basically the type of film I would like to see. There's a lot of films out there and they seem to follow the same predictable plots," said Lecrone, who grew up in Alamogordo and now lives in Las Cruces. "I shot the way I wanted to see it."
Lecrone -- who has worked on projects that include the "Transformers" movie, Criss Angel's Mindfreak and celebrity Chelsea Handler's late night talk show -- said he wanted to emulate the crime dramas he grew up watching and "just started to write" the script.
The crew began filming in late August 2012 and wrapped up this past May.
"It was fun to be able to see all of the different sites and experience a lot of Mesilla. It's absolutely beautiful with the old buildings. It was like we stepped into the past, so filming there was very fun," said Maitland, a California native who has been living in Las Cruces for three years.
Posta's bar in Mesilla will be featured in one of the first scenes in the film, she said.
"I've lived in Cruces for (15 years). It's been a lot of fun to work in a place where you reside. It's gorgeous. It offers a lot of different takes and venues to capture," said Eric Young, who plays Nicholas Rico, a charming, womanizing lone wolf who clashes with other members of the team.
"I just sort of happened," Young said of his casting in the role of Rico. "I just sort of gave him (the character) an attitude. It was a matter of having a lot of fun with him and getting him to be more alive and sort of pop off the page."
Maitland described her character as self-sacrificing with a commitment to courage.
"I really liked being in a position where my character was somebody that everybody was looking up to," she said. "It's a very male-dominate environment. It was exciting to be playing a role where I was a force to be reckoned with. She wasn't the shrinking violet, (she) can take care of herself."
While the characters are contrasting to build the film's dynamic, the film stars all have something in common: the audience.
"I'm hoping they (the audience) just enjoy the story. There's a lot of twists and turns in it, but it's not something you're going to get lost in. Each time you watch it, you will make new connection and notice new things," Maitland said. "It's just a fun movie. Shawn (Lecrone)'s an amazing storyteller."
"I hope it comes off true to the story. I hope it comes off as an ensemble piece. Each one (cast member) contributes the same amount of heart and art to it," added Young, who is currently appearing in the mysterious, erotic drama "Venus in Fur" at the New Mexico State University Readers Theatre.
Look for "Southwest" to play at the White Sands International Film Festival next year, with possible exhibition showings at Las Cruces' Allen Theaters. A "Southwest" television series will also begin filming in August of next year.
Matlin Smith may be reached at 575-541-5468.
(c)2013 the Las Cruces Sun-News (Las Cruces, N.M.)
Visit the Las Cruces Sun-News (Las Cruces, N.M.) at www.lcsun-news.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
A service of YellowBrix, Inc.
Most Popular Stories
- Top Hispanic Tech Companies Push for the Top
- 5 Notable Hispanic Technology Executives
- Russia, Crimea Discuss Referendum
- Taco Bell Rings Up Breakfast Menu
- California Establishes Center for Coffee Study
- 'Holy grail of guitars' OM-45 Deluxe Available in in NY Auction
- China Urges Malaysia Flight Emergency Response
- Justin Bieber Loses Cool Over Selena Gomez
- Maya Angelou Cancels Milagro Gala Appearance Due to Illness
- For Obama, a Last Stab at Improving Ties with Capitol Hill