September 15, 2008

Seagal’s Latest is a ‘Keeper’

By Reel N.M. DAN MAYFIELD Of the Journal

It would be easy to make fun of Steven Seagal's movies, but he'd probably come down to the Journal and break my wrist or something.

And he would have the chance when his new movie, "The Keeper," starts shooting in and around Santa Fe from Sept. 29 to Oct. 24.

In "The Keeper," Seagal is a bodyguard who must rescue a kidnapped woman he was hired to protect. He's one of the producers of the film, to be released next year.

Santa Fe will double for San Antonio, Texas, producer Benjamin Sacks said. So far, the airport, the club Fusion and some homes in town are locations for the shoot.

"The funny thing is, this film was written to be shot out of the country," Sacks said. "It's a role reversal. When I looked at the budget for shooting out of the country, Romania, the Euro versus the dollar, the dollar was so weak and the hotel prices are so high. I said let's take advantage of shooting in the States."

Obvious choices, at least when it came to money, he said, were Louisiana and New Mexico, both of which offer incentives.

"New Mexico won because of hurricane season," Sacks said. "Not too many hurricanes come through Santa Fe."

Also, he said, New Mexico has an easier process when it comes to applying for loans and getting money back. Sacks knows because he line produced the film "Conspiracy" here last year.

The new movie's title, "The Keeper," doesn't have the same ring as some of Seagal's other films: "Half Past Dead,""Under Siege," let alone "Mercenary for Justice." But maybe "The Keeper" is just a working title; plus, "The Bodyguard" was already taken.

I suggest "The Bodyguard 2: Electric Boogaloo."

Seagal bummed out many in Albuquerque last year when his blues band was booked to play in town and then canceled. Maybe he'll have a chance to break out his guitar at any of Santa Fe's bars, which are often known for blues. He's actually quite talented with a guitar. Check out his music at www.

He's also got Steven Seagal's Lightning Bolt energy drink. Really. It comes in two flavors, Asian Experience and Cherry Charge.

Big break awaits

The film "The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint," which will film in Santa Fe this year, is casting for the role of its young title character.

Production credits carry some heavy names. Michael Stipe, from the rock band R.E.M., is one of the producers of the film.

The production company is searching for a boy 9 to 12 years old and a 15- to 17-yearold American Indian boy to play the lead roles in a film based on the novel.

In the book, Edgar is a smart, yet sensitive, orphan thrown into a world he knows nothing about after being run over by a U.S. mail Jeep. He's taken to a hospital and nursed back to health.

Information on casting is at

The best-selling novel was written by Brady Udall, a cousin of Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M.

The Western lives on

On Friday, "Appaloosa," a film shot last year in New Mexico, will be released in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto. It opens everywhere else on Oct. 3.

"Appaloosa" could be huge, and not just because of its allstar cast.

One crew member who worked on the film and saw some daily shots said it's so innovative that it could rewrite the way Westerns are filmed. Forever.

It's been reported that the film was shot on a tight budget of $20 million, tight at least for the names in the cast list. From the trailer it looks as if most of that money went into bullets.

"Appaloosa" certainly does have an all-star cast: Viggo Mortensen ("Eastern Promises"), four-time Oscar nominee Ed Harris ("Pollock") and Academy Award winners Renee Zellweger ("Cold Mountain") and Jeremy Irons ("Reversal of Fortune").

The film is based on the Robert B. Parker novel about lawman Virgil Cole (Harris) and his deputy and partner Everett Hitch (Mortensen).

After the cold-blooded killing of Appaloosa's marshal, Cole and Hitch are hired to bring the murderer to justice. But a strikng widow tears them apart, according to a synopsis from Warner Bros.

The film does seem to be full of pithy dialogue that will make you grin and grimace at the same time.

"You afraid to die," Cole tells a presumed outlaw.

"I'm not afraid," he says.

"Good, 'cause you go first."

Be very afraid

In a sign that locals can do it, too, the film "Necroville" is hitting the big time on Sept. 30 when it's distributed to video stores and cult cinemas across the nation.

If you missed this weekend's Albuquerque premiere, don't fret. The film was sold to international distributor Pop Cinema last year and can now be rented at Blockbuster and through Netflix.

"Necroville" was made by Albuquerque High School graduate Billy Garberina and pals around Albuquerque. It's a horror movie chock- full of werewolves, vampires and zombies overrunning a small New Mexico town.

But Garberina said that's not the scary part: "Nothing can prepare you for the co-dependent girlfriend."


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