By DIANE SPEER
News Lifestyles Editor
In between running a theatre, putting up shows, planning for future seasons and becoming a visible presence in the community, Thunder Bay Theatre Artistic Director J.R. Rodriguez has another major project on his plate.
He's hoping to drum up support for turning a script he wrote into a movie shot in Alpena. Rodriguez penned "All in a Day's Work" nine years ago, and has been making a concerted effort since then to find backing so he can make it a film.
"I want it to be funded with all Michigan money and labor and as much Michigan talent as possible," said Rodriguez, while admitting that the hardest part is raising the necessary funds. He said the budget for the project would be between $550,000 and $1 million.
"I know that sounds like a pie in the sky thing, but I'm stubborn and I want to get my movie made," he said.
The mob, mayhem and plenty of contract killings figure prominently in "All in a Day's Work," that is set in both a big city environment and a small town. Though Rodriguez originally wrote the settings as New Orleans and his hometown of Wilmington, N.C., he recently revised the locations to Detroit and Alpena.
"This is where I live now," he said. "We would just need to do cover shots in Detroit, but we can make the insides of places here look like the big city."
Rodriguez wrote "All in a Day's Work" while doing summer stock work in Kentucky.
"We did nothing during the daytime. I had to do something to keep myself sane," he said. "I've always been a fan of the mob, so I decided to write a movie. The original script took about six hours. I started writing and didn't stop. I had a show that night, and I was late for call because I didn't want to stop writing."
According to Rodriguez, his script has since gone through about five different "incarnations," but that it is now ready to go. He said he's been working with a line producer in Detroit who has been helping him come up with the budget. He also said he has other contacts in the industry willing to assist with the project due to his many years of experience.
Rodriguez has appeared on the television shows, Matlock, Dawson's Creek and One Tree Hill, as well as in the movies, Sleeping with the Enemy and Loggerheads. He recently auditioned for a part in the television series, Army Wives, and is up for a part in the movie, The Three Stooges.
To find out more about his movie project, contact Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org.