By Ted Waddell
HORTONVILLE June 8, 2004 You can get just about anything at Kountry Korner.
Theres beer, the hometown newspaper, a bag of chips, fresh bagels, a hot cup of coffee or maybe a tankful of gas for the family car.
Or you can watch folks make cinematic magic in an independent film about a transsexual and her runaway teenage son.
On Friday, passersby in the tiny hamlet of Hortonville got to experience a taste of the lights, as a crew from Transparent Films shot scenes of a road trip epic called "Transamerica" at the local convenience store.
According to members of the film crew, they will be filming around the area for about ten days, as the western part of the county serves as backdrops for scenes that take place in the Empire State, Virginia and Kentucky all without having to travel hundreds of miles for the perfect shot.
In Friday's filming, Richard "Dick" Crumley of Bethel was recruited to play the part of a motorcyclist pulling up to the petrol pumps while the film's leads gas up their car and scrape bugs off the windshield.
In a few takes under the watchful eye of the writer/director, Crumley and a couple of biker chicks from Queens made a bit of filmic history astride his 2000 Harley Davidson FLXST, a classic mid-70's look-alike.
"I call it my retro-bike," said Crumley.
His reaction to being in the movies?
"It's very interesting to see how a film is made and all the people who are involved," he said. "I guess they take the best of all the takes, edit it and put it all together."
Sebastian Dungan, one of the film's producers, said "Transamerica" is a film about a cross-country road trip starring Felicity Huffman as "Bree" and Kevin Deters in the role of "her long-lost son Toby".
"Hopefully we'll get into the Sundance Fim Festival," he said, "and then maybe the art house film circuit."
Duncan Tucker of NYC and the Callicoon area said he worked two years writing the screenplay.
"I think of it as a sheep in wolf's clothing," said the writer/director of "Transamerica."
"It's a family values movie, but the main characters are not people who major America might think of as a typical family," he added. "It's about a 40-ish woman a pre-op transsexual who winds up on a cross-country trip from Los Angeles to New York City with a juvenile delinquent out of jail looking for his father."
As the plot unfolds and the unlikely pair burn up the miles, "Bree" nevers lets on that during "an experimental dalliance 17 years before, she fathered a son" who is now in fact her companion on a trans-trip across America.
"She wants a new life, and he's a runaway from the streets of New York City," said Tucker. "She has to confront her past before the surgery."
According to Tucker, "Toby" thinks "Bree" is some "nice Christian, evangelical missionary out to save street people. . . . She's lying to him, [and] he's hustling her for money and thinks she only wants his body.
They slowly become a family in ways you wouldn't expect, he said. To find out where it winds up, you'll have to see the movie.
Tucker said that in doing research for the in-the-works film, he interviewed a lot of trans-women and street hustlers in order to give the movie a sense of reality.
Several years ago in the City of the Angels, Tucker said that after "a little bit of Scotch," a woman neighbor told him that "she'd been born a guy. . . . I had no idea.
"I've always felt for outsiders," he said. "Usually in stories you see transsexuals [portrayed] as freaks or street hustlers who toy with drugs and are invisible weirdos.
"But they have hearts and lives, and dreams too," said Tucker. "It can be so lonely and tough for them."
As the camera rolled and the actors read their lines, Gurpreet Singh manned the deli counter as locals passed through the stage and gassed up for the afternoon's errands.
"It gives everybody in town something else to talk about besides school mergers," he said.