News Column

'The Longest Ride' films at Cameron Art Museum

July 11, 2014

By Hunter Ingram, Star-News, Wilmington, N.C.



July 11--A different kind of art was on display at the Cameron Art Museum Thursday as "The Longest Ride, " the latest Nicholas Sparks film adaptation, took over the facility for two days to film scenes for the romantic drama.

The film's lead actors, "Under the Dome's" Britt Robertson and Scott Eastwood (son of Clint Eastwood) -- along with costar Gloria Reuben, around 40 background extras and dozens of crew members -- filled a wing of the museum with a few special guests.

Pieces from the museum's "Corrugated World: The Artwork of James Grashow" exhibition, which is constructed completely from cardboard, are featured prominently in the scenes, including a sea of monkeys that hang from the ceiling.

Between takes on the bustling day of production, which began in WilmingtonJune 16, Robertson took advantage of the down time by knitting in her cast chair labeled with "Sophia," her character's name.

"The Longest Ride," which is based on the latest book by Sparks, follows Sophia and Luke (Eastwood), a young couple whose blossoming relationship in the Piedmont area of the state becomes intertwined with Ira (Alan Alda), an elderly man reminiscing about his own love story with his late wife, Ruth.

A focal point of the film is the art culture within the state, in particular the art movement that began in Black Mountain during the 1940s and 1950s. The film has already shot flashbacks sequences in the downtown area, which will trace Ira and Ruth's relationship through the decades.

Marty Bowen, the film's producer, said choosing to shoot at the Cameron Art Museum, which will stand in for several museums in the film, has been beneficial for both the production and the crew.

"I can talk about how helpful the people are and how beautiful this art is," Bowen said. "But given the way the weather was last week, just knowing that you can be inside with air conditioning is the best blessing of them all."

Speaking about bringing the film to Wilmington, Bowen, who calls Sparks the "poet laureate" of the state, said there is no better place to adapt a novel by the popular author, who lives outside of New Bern.

"I think if you are going to do a movie based n North Carolina, you might as go where they have the best crews and the most willing supporters in the community," said Bowen, who also produced the locally filmed "Safe Haven."

The film spent both Wednesday and Thursday at the museum, leaving it closed to the public. But the facility's executive director Anne Brennan said the museum is always happy to open its door to the film industry, especially for a major motion picture.

"It is a most favorable partnership," Brennan said. "They are highly professional and to work with a team of artists at the museum is really a dream come true."

Although Brennan wouldn't reveal how much the film forked over to shoot at the museum, she called the benefits "lucrative for the museum" and noted that compensation will go towards buying new supplies for the exhibitions.

"The Longest Ride" is the fourth Sparks film to shoot in Wilmington, following "Safe Haven," "Nights in Rodanthe" and "A Walk to Remember." A fifth, "The Choice," begins production this September.

At the end of the month, crews will hit the road to film in Jacksonville and Winston-Salem, where the production will film rodeo scenes with Eastwood's character, who is a professional bullrider.

Directed by George Tillman Jr., "The Longest Ride" hits theaters April 3, 2015.

Hunter Ingram: 910-343-2327

Twitter: @WilmonFilm

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(c)2014 the Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.)

Visit the Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.) at www.starnewsonline.com

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Source: Star-News (Wilmington, NC)


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