An independent film released last weekend at the famed Toronto Film Festival has a tie to Poteau after a local business owner was given a speaking role.
Last summer Ryan Adams, with R.L. Sockey Construction, sent his photo to a casting agent to be an extra on a movie that was going to be doing some filming in Oklahoma.
“My wife heard about it and told me I should send in my picture. She thought it would be fun,” Adams said.
The film, "Yellow", was directed by Nick Cassavetes who also directed "The Notebook" and "My Sister’s Keeper." Adams said this movie is a bit darker than the romantic comedies he associated with Cassavetes.
According to the official website for "Yellow", the movie is about Mary Holmes (played by Heather Wahlquist who is from Seminole) who has a great life. She’s young, beautiful and lives in Los Angeles. She has a good job teaching at a private elementary school and four beautiful children. But things aren’t always what they seem. Mary has problems. She has a difficult time feeling things, and the fact that she eats 20 Vicodin a day doesn’t help. She sees a psychiatrist for the disconnect daydreams she keeps having, and her younger sister with Tourettes hates her. And when she loses her job for sleeping with one of the fathers on Parent’s night, she decides to go home. And that’s when the fun really starts. The dreams which seemed so random now start to take real shape as we understand where she came from. From young and in love, drug dealing on the road, to her father’s slow painful death, from questions of love and incest, to her older sister’s descent into insanity, the secret that destroyed her entire family reveals itself on her journey back home.
Adams said he was contacted by the casting agent to report to the prison in McAlester for filming.
“Not only was I able to see what a movie set was like but I also got a real first-hand knowledge of a prison,” he said.
Adams said when he and the other cast arrived for the shoot they were told they would be filming in a cell block that wasn’t being used by the prison. However, it is still a prison. Adams said the cast and crew had to turn in all cell phones and identification with their wallets before being taken inside the cell block.
“They basically locked us in a cell block they weren’t using,” he said. “We couldn’t leave once we were inside and since there wasn’t really any place for people to have separate dressing rooms or areas we just all got to hang out together for eight hours inside a prison.”
Adams said when he arrived, like all the other extras he was taken to wardrobe. He was told he would be playing the part of a prison guard.
“Later one of the casting agents came over to where we were all sitting and told me to go with her,” he said.
For the scene that he was going to be in Adams was told to escort the main character of the film and her brother from the prison into the yard. He said he was given direction about where to stand when he was finished while the two actors did the scene.
“While I was standing there I heard the director radio the casting agent to tell me to say a line,” Adams said. “I wasn’t expecting that.”
Adams was given a one-line speaking roll that said, “Time’s up!”
“So I did it and they liked it. Then we did the same thing like 50 times from all the different angles,” he said.
Because Adams actually had a speaking role he is listed on the full cast list on the website. He said the part also made him eligible to obtain a Screen Actors Guild card. Not that he has any plans to pursue an acting career in the future.
“It was fun and interesting and thrilling. My adrenaline was going,” he said of the experience. “I gained a lot of respect for actors and the work they do. It’s very complicated. I thought the whole experience was really great. It was neat for a regular guy from Southeast Oklahoma to spend the day hanging out with movie stars. I almost didn’t go but I’m glad I did because it was very cool. I’d like to do it again some time. How often can someone say that one day I was here in Poteau building a house and the next day I was on the set of a movie?”
Adams hasn’t seen the full film yet but has seen good reviews from critics at the film festival. Other stars in "Yellow" are Sienna Miller, Ray Liotta and Melanie Griffith. A full release date for the movie hasn’t been announced.