Thursday, August 25, 2011

Impressive Stars in 17 Miracles


     I quickly learned from the other extras who had been in movies before, that the "stars" of a movie are very much apart from the extras.  They eat separately, they never talk to a lowly extra, and they are, in general, a rather “superior” group.  (That wasn't the term that the others used, but it best describes what was being communicated)

STARS OF A DIFFERENT DIMENSION--Tomas Kofod, Jason Wade, David Nibley, Matthew Maddox

     It is to the credit of the LDS “Stars” in "17 Miracles" that they are far from that description.  They were friendly, outgoing and seemed very unaffected by their "stardom" in the Mormon culture.  The first day on set, my sister and I were eating our lunch, sitting on the steps of the old railroad train station in Heber.  As we ate, Tomas Kofod  (You know, “Christ”!) and a woman, whom I didn’t recognize, came and sat down on the steps to the right of us.  Soon Tomas was talking to us, asking us about our participation in the movie.  When he found out that we were Elizabeth Panting’s descendents, he became very excited, turned to the woman and asked her if she knew Elizabeth’s story.  She said no, so he proceeded to enthusiastically tell her a short synopsis of some of Elizabeth’s miracles.  My sister and I just looked at each other.  We were, first amazed that he knew the stories, and second, surprised that he told them rather than have us tell them.  But he was excited about them and it made us happy that others were being touched by Elizabeth’s experiences.  Tomas and my sister talked in Swedish for a short time (she served a mission in Sweden) and he told us about his current work back "home."  (in the Scandinavian countries.)  That was my first day and I had no idea that Tomas was acting unusual for a star.  I didn’t know stars just don’t do that!  But he did and so did many others on the set of  “17 Miracles.”

     My pictures of "Levi Savage" didn't survive, but I did have a similar experience with Jason Wade.  Jason was still a newly wed when we were doing the filming in August.  His wife came to be an extra.  One time when we were waiting to be called, several of us extras were sitting at a table talking.  As we visited, Jason came and sat down next to his wife—relaxed and so down to earth.  They, Jason and his wife, visited with us as any ordinary newly weds would.  It was quiet at the time in the large warehouse type studio, late in the evening.  The simple conversation touched on some of their experiences.  A special memory of the times on set.

     During the first week I was an extra, Addie was there.  I love her!  She is a young woman;  pretty, bubbly and friendly.  She was so cute because she was dying to have her picture taken with one of the stars of “The Best Two Years,” David Nibley.  One time she was telling me how much she wanted this picture.  I told her to go ahead and ask him.  After all, all he could say was no.  (As a high school friend told me once, "nothing ventured, nothing gained.")  So Addie did.  Somewhat surprised, he graciously granted her wish.

When Addie was so successful with David, she approached Nathan Mitchell.  Well, the rest of us ladies couldn't resist.....we joined in.  I am going to put everyone's pictures here so that you can see that we were "star struck" even if the stars weren't.  Nathan was such a good sport about it.  He just stood there and let us take our turn stepping in to posing with him.  He just kept smiling. 
How long did it take?  I have no idea, but obviously with several of us lined up, it took some time.

Nathan and Addie

Marilee and Nathan

Here are two pictures of Dianne with Nathan.  I thought she might enjoy seeing both.  There is that wonderful smile!

Nathan and Dianne

Nathan and Dianne


And too!

One of my favorite church movies of all time is "Treasure in Heaven," another T. C. Christensen movie.  If you haven't seen it, you really should.  It is an awesome portrayal of John Tanner's willing sacrifices for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  So when Matthew Maddox showed up on set, what could I do but ask if I could have a picture with him.  He was very surprised that anyone would want a picture with him.  Obviously, he doesn't realize the impact his part in that movie has had on the public.  I may not be a star but I know how to recognize one! 


One of the most endearing features of T. C. Christensen's movies are the children he includes.  There was a family of children that participates in many of his movies.  The boys range in age from quite young to preteen, if I remember correctly.   These young guys were there often until very late at night (as was their mother with them!).  I took some fun pictures of them sleeping on the floor in the big warehouse/studio but those pictures  were lost also.  Even without pictures, I have to give tribute to these actors.

Some of my special memories of "17 Miracles" has been that of watching and even sometimes associating on a limited basis, with the the "stars" of the movie.  They are actors and actresses to those who go to the movies, but they are stars of a special kind to me.

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