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Movie production brings exposure and a few dollars to area stand-ins

Staff //May 31, 2024//

At left, actor, writer and comedian Eugene Levy with his stand-in, Jim Kennedy of Landrum. (Photo/Cindy Kennedy)

At left, actor, writer and comedian Eugene Levy with his stand-in, Jim Kennedy of Landrum. (Photo/Cindy Kennedy)

At left, actor, writer and comedian Eugene Levy with his stand-in, Jim Kennedy of Landrum. (Photo/Cindy Kennedy)

At left, actor, writer and comedian Eugene Levy with his stand-in, Jim Kennedy of Landrum. (Photo/Cindy Kennedy)

Movie production brings exposure and a few dollars to area stand-ins

Staff //May 31, 2024//

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Summer Camp, a comedy that hits theaters today starring Kathy Bates, Diane Keaton and Alfre Woodard, will have some Upstate faces appearing as reunion campers throughout the film.

The movie was made on location at Camp Pinnacle in Flat Rock, N.C., and drew on residents from both sides of the state line to fill out scenes.

According to Karlie Loland-Riger, casting director for the project, her team case more than 1,300 extras from the area and spent $10 million on the North Carolina locations, which also included locations along the Nantahala River, Blue Ridge Community College, Wingate University, Shoal Creek farm and Pardee Hospital. She said 80% of the crew comes from the Carolinas.

Oscar-winning actress Kathy Bates with her double and stand-in, Cindy Kennedy of Lyman. (Photo/Cindy Kennedy)
Oscar-winning actress Kathy Bates with her double and stand-in, Cindy Kennedy of Lyman. (Photo/Cindy Kennedy)

Those faces included Joey Freeman, Dede Norungolo, Patricia Brewster-Terrell, all of Greenville; Bill and Pam Havice, of Clemson; and Cindy and Jim Kennedy, of Landrum, who worked on set at Camp Pinnacle near Flat Rock.

“I worked 25 days over the almost six weeks of filming,” said Cindy Kennedy who served as Bates’ stand-in and double for the production. “We worked on set before the lead actors arrived, as well as between takes as camera and lighting changes took place, and sometimes after the leads were finished to help complete a scene.”

“Our interactions with the lead actors included brief greetings as we passed each other changing places on the set,” she said. “My favorite moment during filming was between scenes one day when Alfre Woodard and I sang the folk song ‘Molly Malone’ and danced together in front of the cast and crew, after which we got an ovation.”

Her husband Jim was on set nine days, serving as the stand-in for Levy. “By total coincidence, Eugene and I were born in the same city in Canada — Hamilton, Ontario,” he said. “We had several chats about the local pro football team, high school rivalries, and the Niagara Escarpment that splits the town.”

The Havices, both retired Clemson University faculty and staff, enjoyed three days on the set. They may be seen mixing and mingling in the opening sequence of the reunion opening day and before the opening ceremony.

“I was on set as an extra for a total of four weeks,” said Freeman. “Within that time frame, I filmed canoeing on the lake in the background while Keaton and Levy paddled around.”

In addition to the lake scene, Freeman was included in a dining hall food fight in which everyone was engaged in an actual food fight. Norungolo also was in the food fight.

Greenville native Dede Norungolo is sandwiched between crew member Maria Howell and Josh Peck, who portrays a camp counselor. (Photo/Dede Norungolo)
Greenville native Dede Norungolo is sandwiched between crew member Maria Howell and Josh Peck, who portrays a camp counselor. (Photo/Dede Norungolo)

“I had three days on site and got to be seated at a table beside the main actors in the dining hall,” she said, adding that it was a blast to throw real and fake food during many takes. “When we saw the first trailer, it was exciting when Joey captured an image of me full-on engaged in throwing food and posted the image to me online.”  The Greenville native shared that her oldest sister attended Camp Pinnacle as a youth, which inspired her to send a headshot to the casting agency.

Norungolo and Freeman may be on-screen during a camp opening sequence when reunion campers check in on the first day. They also participated in a mixer that brings together Bates, Keaton and Woodard with Levy, and additional cast members Dennis Haysbert, Josh Peck, Nicole Richie, Betsy Sodaro and Beverly D’Angelo.

“It’s going to be exciting seeing how all the sequences come together,” Norungolo said. “I won’t know until I’m in the theater watching the movie if I made it into the mixer or if I’ll be seen sitting behind Beverly D’Angelo while Kathy Bates’ character, Ginny, addresses all the camp reunion participants.”

Freeman feels he may also be seen in an awards ceremony, a campfire scene and a segment when Woodard fights with her companion.

“I got started because an indie-level producer saw a picture that I posted on social media on my 60th birthday three years ago,” he said. “So I enrolled in acting classes with the Entertainers Life Bootcamp out of LA. Since Summer Camp, I have been in … Misery Loves Company, Loyalty Over Everything, Not Quite My Christmas, Holiday Inn, and Fight Night.”

A trailer for the comedy can be viewed at the website of distributor Roadside Attractions.

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