Idaho Statesman Article
Boise seniors ready for their close-up
Hollywood has come to an assisted living center, with the residents landing movie roles.
August 9, 2014
Life has been a little unusual for the residents at Boise's Edgewood Plantation Place.
A Boise writer and director, Will von Tagen, is shooting a feature film there, "The Other Side of September." He's also starring in the movie.
The film also features Lee Majors, best known as Steve Austin, lead character in the 1970s television series "The Six Million Dollar Man." In "The Other Side of September," Majors plays a suave resident at a retirement home who becomes a mentor to von Tagen's character.
Terry Kiser, who played the dead title character in "Weekend at Bernie's," also plays a role.
Several of the residents, including Ann Auer, Ann Mallett and Clair Kilton, were drafted as extras.
Boise on the big screen: Production Manager Jake Fullilove said the crew on the ultra-low-budget indie film will wrap up on Aug. 18. The goal is to have a preliminary version of the movie done by the end of September.
At that point, director von Tagen will look for festivals to screen the film, and look for wider distribution.
Filming began July 28, and Edgewood Plantation Place is not the sole local location. Others include Zoo Boise, the Owyhee and Vicino's in Boise's North End.
Before that, said Fullilove, von Tagen raised the money for the film, approaching places such as the assisted living residence with his pitch. Von Tagen was an intern/production assistant on the Tim Woodward documentary, "Idaho: The Movie."
"We've had so much luck with all of our locations," said Fullilove, who is also a Boise native. "People want to be a part of it."
A pencil sketch: Mallett hasn't had a chance to meet Lee Majors, but at the request of Plantation Place Marketing Assistant MaryAnn Murdoch, Mallett drew a pencil sketch of the star. It's an accurate likeness, even though she claimed to have had the wrong kind of paper, nothing but a No. 2 pencil to draw with, and only her finger to blend the shading around Majors' chiseled face.
Mallett was one of 35 artists hired out of 400 applicants to draw portraits at the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle. Each portrait cost $2. Her cut was 90 cents per portrait. She made enough money to buy herself a sportscar, a white Austin Healey Sprite.
A glamour shot in black-and-white: A Hollywood-esque shot of Auer, hair swept up, eyes demure, hangs on the wall in her room at Plantation Place. Majors liked the photograph so much that he insisted it be in the movie - representing his character's long-lost wife.
The photograph was taken around the time Auer became a nurse.
"I worked for my whole life," she said.
She divorced her husband, who she said was an alcoholic.
"I raised my five children all by myself," she said.
Yep, Lee Majors is still handsome: Auer, who gave her room up for four nights so the crew could film there, spotted Majors walking down the hall.
" 'Gee whiz. Can I get your picture?' " she asked him.
Majors obliged. The photo, which Auer keeps in a special folder, shows Majors with his arm around her.
"My son says that Lee Majors used to be the Six Million Dollar Man. But with inflation, he'd now be the Six Hundred Million Dollar Man," said Auer.
She said she plans to tell Majors that the next time she sees him.
Something the average person doesn't get to see: Clair Kilton has lived at Plantation Place longer than any other resident: 12 years. He was a photographer during his working years. He fell in love with the art form while serving in Europe during World War II.
"I got out of the Army and told my wife that was my calling," he said.
He and his wife raised eight children.
The film crew has been "very cordial," said Kirtland.
Being around a group of filmmakers, plus "a star or two," isn't something the average person gets to do, he said.
"It's like the other side of the world," he said.
Once saw Clark Gable: Majors was the first movie star Auer has met. But a "long, long time ago," she was on a plane with legendary actor Clark Gable.
"I walked past him. He was in first class, I was in coach," she said.
Anna Webb: 377-6431
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