Thursday, September 18, 2008

Duvall to Ride into NM for TV Miniseries?

Lots pf buzz in Michigan over the new productions coming there way... one of them involving another western, this time with Robert Duvall...

Robert Duvall to film miniseries in West Michigan
by John Serba | The Grand Rapids Press
Wednesday September 17, 2008, 10:38 PM

Oscar-winning actor Robert Duvall will be directing and starring in a TV miniseries filming in West Michigan in 2009.

"We're negotiating a deal with two different broadcast networks right now," said Jerry Zandstra, vice president of the project's production company, American Saga Productions. "Duvall will definitely be filming here."

The series is "La Linea" (Spanish for "The Line"), in which Duvall plays a U.S. Department of Agriculture horseman policing diseased animals crossing the Mexican border.

He witnesses two human traffickers, dubbed "coyotes," commit a crime just over the border, and shoots them, causing a social and political uproar.

It's written by Alan Geoffrion, who also penned Emmy-winning miniseries "Broken Trail" starring Duvall. James Caan, Duvall's "The Godfather" co-star, and Wilford Brimley also are cast.

"The script really highlights all the mess and human tragedy that happens along the border," said Zandstra, of Caledonia, who is also a part-time pastor at Caledonia and Wayland Christian Reformed churches and is president of the Pro-Life Federation of Michigan.

Because of the setting, portions of the shoot will take place in New Mexico or Arizona, where pre-production will begin in October, and filming will tentatively begin in January, according to Zandstra. Interiors and some exteriors will be shot in West Michigan, most likely in March and April.

"Some of the story takes place in rural country Texas, not the desert, and we've already looked at locations in Coopersville and Lowell," Zandstra said. "Most of the shooting will happen in Kent County."

He added that American Saga has an $80 million annual budget, and plans to shoot more projects in West Michigan two in Lowell and two in Grand Rapids. Another in the works is based on Stephen Ambrose's book "Nothing Like it in the World: The Men who Built the Transcontinental Railroad."

In August, American Saga, which has 70 percent of its investors located in Michigan, shot Grand Rapids firefighters at the LaGrave Avenue firehouse for "Station House," a reality-TV pilot. The footage is currently being edited into a feature-length documentary to be premiered in local theaters this fall. A six-minute promotional sample of the pilot is currently being prepared to show to TV networks.

"That should be done by Friday, and shopped around next week," Zandstra said.

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