November 22, 2006
By Dawn DeCwikiel-Kane
WINSTON-SALEM — They kept details a mystery while shooting movie scenes at Greensboro's War Memorial Stadium and Forest Oaks Country Club.
But before Los Angeles producers wrapped up five weeks of filming in the Triad early Tuesday morning, they gave a behind-the-scenes peak at their independent thriller, "The Key Man."
The film features Hugo Weaving, who starred as the villainous Agent Smith in "The Matrix" trilogy, Lord Elrond in the "Lord of the Rings" and V in "V for Vendetta."
It also stars Jack Davenport, who played Admiral Norrington in "Pirates of the Caribbean"; Brian Cox of the HBO series "Deadwood"; Carol Kane of "Taxi"; and Judy Greer of "Arrested Development."
Producer Brian Udovich of Occupant Films said they kept filming under wraps to protect stars' privacy.
"You don't want to have a bunch of 'Lord of the Rings' fans standing outside the Marriott all day," he said.
But that didn't stop a few fans from recognizing Weaving at a Winston-Salem hotel.
Yet by late Monday, all stars except Davenport had finished their parts and left. He remained with the crew and extras at Forsyth Country Club, for scenes on the golf course and in its ballroom.
How those scenes fit into "The Key Man" plot remains, well, also a mystery.
Udovich declined to reveal many details of the script. He described it as a crime drama about insurance fraud, a "1975 period piece set in suburban Massachusetts."
Greensboro and primarily Winston-Salem fit the part of an East Coast town in autumn.
They filmed Weaving and Davenport in batting practice at War Memorial Stadium.
They also shot a scene in the locker room at Forest Oaks.
In Winston-Salem, they filmed at downtown Winston Tower and in private homes.
They also shot scenes at the former Stokes County Correctional Facility.
"It's great when you come into an area with a sense of history and great architecture left, where we can do a period piece," Udovich said.
While he declined to reveal the budget, he said they were attracted by North Carolina's film incentives, which give a 15 percent tax credit to productions spending at least $250,000.
Locally, they hired 50-60 crew members, 10-15 actors for speaking parts and 150-200 extras.
"The Key Man" is the latest of many independent films to be shot recently in the Triad, including "Junebug," "National Lampoon's Pucked" and "Home of the Giants" starring Haley Joel Osment.
"The Key Man" now heads into post-production in L.A. and New York.
When it will appear in theaters is another mystery. No date has been set.