August 21, 2008

Small Town on Big Screen


By Catherine Kozak

The Virginian-Pilot

Outer Bank s residents soon will be treated to close-ups of movie stars Richard Gere and Diane Lane frolicking on their beach, zipping down their road and snuggling at their pier.

An invitation-only showing of "Nights in Rodanthe," the silver screen version of Nicholas Sparks' bestselling tear-jerker , has been scheduled for Sept. 24 at the R/C Kill Devil Hills Movies 10. That's just two days after the premiere in New York City, and two days before it will be released nationwide. It will be released abroad in November.

There will be about 210 seats available for residents who participated in the production - as extras, consultants, security, musicians, caterers - during the six weeks it was shooting on the Outer Banks.

"From a ticketing standpoint, we want to take care of everybody, not just those who were in front of the camera," said Carolyn McCormick, managing director of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau. "I think the challenge will be that we put the tickets in the hands of the people who were part of making it happen."

McCormick said she had hoped the screening, which Warner Bros. is providing at no cost, could be held at the movie theater in Avon, near the Hatteras Island village the movie is named after. But she was happy that at least the islanders will see it second, just two days after the Hollywood elite do. Location shots were also taken in Wilmington, N.C. Their movie screening will be held on Sept. 25.

Despite its wealth of beautiful coastal scenery, the Outer Banks' remote location and sparsity of amenities in the past made it undesirable as a movie location because of the expense.

"Message in a Bottle," another Sparks novel that was made into a film, for instance, was set on the Outer Banks, but the location shoot was in Maine.

When Hollywood arrived here in May 2007, Outer Banks residents lined up by the hundreds for a chance to be extras; others lent their businesses or employees to the effort.

Serendipity, a large beach house on the edge of the ocean in Rodanthe - temporarily renamed The Inn at Rodanthe - served as the setting for many of the movie's intimate scenes.

For the few weeks the movie was being shot, the favorite sport among locals was sightings of Richard Gere and Diane Lane, the stars who played the romantic lead roles and stayed at the Tranquil House Inn in Manteo. In addition to the beach house, location shoots were done at the Hatteras Island Fishing Pier in Rodanthe, on the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry, on Ocracoke Island, in Manns Harbor and in Manteo.

"Nights in Rodanthe," published in 2002, is about a retired doctor who visits the northernmost Hatteras Island village to come to terms with a patient's death. While staying at the beachfront, he falls in love with the inn's caretaker, a middle-age mother whose husband had left her for another woman.

Scenes in the movie trailer show soaring aerial footage of the beach house with crashing waves in front; another aerial shows Gere speeding down the highway in his expensive sports car, the sound and ocean on either side. One shot locals will get a kick out of is a scene with Lane laughing as wild horses run on the beach - a sight that would have had park rangers circling in no time.

Accurate or not, the movie gives the Outer Banks worldwide exposure, McCormick said. A number of promotions tied to the movie are in the works nationwide and internationally, she said. And even after the movie leaves the theaters, the DVD will soon follow.

"The fact that the movie is called 'Nights in Rodanthe,'

" she said, "you can't pay for that."

Catherine Kozak, (252) 441-1711,

[email protected]

who gets to go?

About 210 residents who participated in the local "Nights in Rodanthe" filming as extras, consultants, security, musicians, caterers, etc., will be invited to the screening. - online

Watch the trailer for "Nights in Rodanthe" at: http://

Originally published by BY CATHERINE KOZAK.

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