Apollo Mall, a film star?
Story by Dan Hust
MONTICELLO February 15, 2013 Legislators are expected to allow an independent film company to shoot part of a movie at the old Apollo Mall in Monticello.
And the Monticello High School is already gearing up to welcome the crew next month.
Titled Jamie Marks Is Dead, the film is based on a novel called One for Sorrow by Christopher Barzak, according to media reports.
Since the shoot has yet to begin locally, producers of the movie aren’t ready to talk, but local officials and various articles have shed some light on the production.
“It’s a horror film,” Legislature Chairman Scott Samuelson told his colleagues at a committee meeting last week.
“No, it’s a supernatural thriller,” replied Monica Brennan, the county’s director of Risk Management and Insurance.
Both may be right or wrong. According to reviews of the 2007 novel, the central story is considered more sad than scary, revolving around two teenage boys one alive, one murdered and now a ghost who can communicate with one another.
The tale has been compared to The Lovely Bones and Catcher in the Rye and is now being turned into a film via director/scriptwriter Carter Smith, who previously directed a horror movie called The Ruins and gained notoriety as a fashion photographer of stars like Justin Timberlake and Julia Roberts.
The Internet Movie Database lists one of the executive producers as John Logan (writer of the huge James Bond hit Skyfall) and the producer as Alex Orlovsky, who previously produced Blue Valentine, the Michelle Wil-liams-Ryan Gosling dra-ma filmed in neighboring Wayne County, PA.
Several websites say Cameron Monaghan, one of the principal actors in Showtime’s Shameless, will star in the film.
Shooting locations include the Monticello High School, where this March Principal Lori Orestano-James said students and members of the district’s Theater Club will likely be extras.
“They’re going to use a couple of our classrooms, locker rooms, gymnasium and offices,” she ex-plained, noting that the production company has been eyeing the facilities since the end of last school year.
“I know a number of the crew have taken up residence in the county, so it will be a nice economic boon to the area,” she added.
Over at the Apollo, Samuelson said the crew wants to utilize a small section for a scene in which the living boy takes refuge by a hobo’s fire.
Legislator Alan Sorensen accompanied members of the crew on a recent tour of the decaying mall, which he said easily fits the bill for a haunted location.
“It is pretty scary in there,” he said, likening the broken glass, collapsed ceilings and vegetation growth to the popular TV series Life After People, which imagines a post-human world.
The county continues to work with Butch Resnick to turn the abandoned mall into a shopping destination once again, said Sorensen, but that’s awaiting zoning and annexation action on the Village of Monticello’s end.
So in the meantime, the mall is available for what will likely be an $800-$1,000 fee which legislators will vote upon later this month.
With the possibility of a film crew of 50 or more staying in the county for a month, Samuelson indicated he welcomes Jamie Marks Is Dead.
“As long as it’s not going to shed a negative light on Sullivan County, then I don’t see a problem,” he said.