By Keith Lacey
The science fiction thriller starring Nicolas Cage that garnered so much attention in Oliver and Osoyoos last year will be hitting the big screen in a matter of months.
And the same film production company that made that movie – Minds Eye Entertainment out of Regina – has returned to the Okanagan Valley to begin shooting a new action thriller called Distorted, starring Hollywood heavyweights John Cusack and Christina Ricci.
The Humanity Bureau, which was shot in and around Osoyoos for almost a month late last fall and early winter is currently in post-production and is expected to hit movie screens across Canada and around the world in mid or late fall, said Kevin DeWalt, producer and CEO of Minds Eye Entertainment, which has been making movies and television series in Canada for close to 30 years.
“The film will be completed in August … if everything goes well, I would expect The Humanity Bureau to hit theatres in mid or late fall,” said DeWalt. “We’re in the middle of post-production and everything is going well.’
When interviewed while shooting The Humanity Bureau in Osoyoos in late November, DeWalt stated his company was committed to shooting up to six movies in the Okanagan Valley and he’s keeping that promise by shooting Distorted in Kelowna and Vernon over the next month, starting this week.
“About 75 per cent of the movie will be shot in Kelowna and the other 25 per cent in the Vernon area,” he said. “We’re thrilled to be coming back to the Okanagan Valley.”
Distorted will be directed by Rob King, the same man who directed The Humanity Bureau, said DeWalt.
“We have a lot of the same crew working on this movie that worked on The Humanity Bureau,” he said. “We’re all pretty excited to be returning to the Okanagan because it’s a pretty great place to visit and a wonderful place to shoot a movie.”
The script for Distorted was written by Arne Olsen and will star Ricci, Cusack and Brendan Fletcher (The Revenant).
There will be a technical crew of about 100 and close to 250 extras will be needed over the shooting period that will last until the end of June, said DeWalt.
The majority of the technical crew, production staff and actors will be staying in Kelowna hotels and eating in restaurants, which provides a significant boost to the local economy, he said.
DeWalt said he fell in love with this region long ago and will continue to shoot films in the Okangan Valley moving forward.
He also hopes to return to shoot another movie in Osoyoos sometime in the near future, he said.
“We loved our time in Osoyoos and we will definitely be coming back,” he said.
Jon Summerland, the commissioner of the Okanagan Film Commission, said he’s thrilled DeWalt and his production company have once again selected the Okanagan to shoot a major motion picture.
“We are pleased to be working again with Minds Eye Entertainment who filmed The Humanity Bureau, starring Nicolas Cage, last November in Oliver/Osoyoos, and set up an Okanagan office last spring,” he said. “They are bringing another full production to be shot in the Okanagan which is significant as the Okanagan is becoming more established as a full production film and television centre.”
DeWalt said he’s honoured his company is able to attract well-known Hollywood stars such as Cage, Ricci and Cusack to work on his films.
“We’re honoured to work with such a high calibre of actors and can’t wait for fans to join our characters on this mind-bending story,” he said.
Ricci will portray Lauren Curran, an artist who suffers from bi-polar disorder and who is recovering from a devastating personal tragedy – the loss of a child.
Plagued by disturbing memories and fears for her own safety, Lauren and her devoted husband Russel (Brendan Fletcher) decide to move from a perilous neighbourhood, to the luxurious, safe and beautiful surroundings of The Pinnacle, an apartment building that boasts ultra modern design features and integrated security systems.
But Lauren begins to suspect the building has a dark side to it.
She seeks the help of Vernon Sarsfield (John Cusack), a phantom-like investigative journalist whose interest is cyber conspiracy.
Together, they begin to suspect The Pinnacle’s mysterious owner may be using the building’s state-of-the-art control systems to subliminally subjugate its unsuspecting residents.