By Shannon Sneed
The Eatonton Messenger
June 14, 2018
Tytan Pictures shoots three days, including Eatonton Messenger office
Already connected to award-winning movies such as “The Color Purple” and “My Cousin Vinnie,” Eatonton is fast becoming a popular destination for film production.
With an independent film and television pilot already through its doors, Tytan Pictures held a 3-day shoot last weekend filming at The Eatonton Messenger, The Putnam County Courthouse, Step Back and the Tytan prison studio.
Catching up with Summer Howell as she took a working break, the first assistant director said they were filming the movie pilot “83 Days,” based on the story of George Stinney Jr., the youngest person in history to be put to death by electric chair at the age of just 14 years.
Directed by Andrew Howell, the movie is set in 1944 South Carolina, where in only 83 days, two young girls were found murdered and Stinney was accused, tried, convicted and executed for the crime.
Dejean Deterville, a native of South Carolina also, plays lead character Stinney.
Tytan Pictures CEO Jim Stone noted how much the actor bears a striking resemblance to the ill-fated youth as he is filmed carrying a large, old Bible toward the ominous electric chair where, like the original electrocution scene, he would use the written Word of God to lift him up to fit the adult-size hood used to emit around 24,400 volts of electricity through the head.
Standing on set, just out of camera shot, Dejean’s parents, Demetrio “Dee” and Taylor Victoria Deterville, support their son while painfully watching some shots and turning away from others.
The movie shoot included a recognizable cast and crew of locals featuring Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills as Judge Witherspoon, Church Central Eatonton Pastor Michael Griffin as the priest, Michael Feldman as the father of the victims, and several other background extras.
Experienced Hollywood actors and hands, including crew from the Oscar winning movie “I, Tonya” and “Godzilla 2 King of Monsters,” were on et also o ensure the production was high quality.
“We are using fictionalized names of the characters,” Howell said noting some familiar names could also be cast for parts including Matthew Bellows as Deputy Clarkeston, Brett Rice as Sheriff Campbell and David Keith as Mayor Jenkins.
“There will also be a cameo appearance by Steven Reddington,” Howell said.
With bars serving as partitions, the prison studio as divided into stations where crew worked much like manufacturers on an assembly line.
Set up near line of hanging costumes and a table of neatly arranged accessories, Monica Alsobrook, owner of Peach Label Costumes of Atlanta, which provides apparel from the 1940 through the 1990s was fitting the cast with the proper attire.
“We are responsible for making sure the characters are brought to life for his 1944 story” said Alsobrook “We research and find clothing that fits that era or we design them.”
Makeup and hair artist Constance Consola-Trammell finished he characters’ guise with movie makeup, which in some instances called for adding fake dirt and fake sweat.
After Consola-Trammell finished applying the makeup, studio intern Haley Housworth, who is a talented performer and student at Putnam County High School, took a picture of the cast member so they could duplicate the look if needed.
Craft services was a so on scene providing a variety of snacks and drinks for the cast and crew, but most of the meals were catered by local restaurants, including lunches from Cuco’s Mexican Restaurant and breakfast from Huddle House.
Before running off to start the cameras rolling again Howell advised that after filming the short piece of the whole movie, it would be sent to Sony Pictures as “proof of concept”
“If Sony executives like what they see, they’ll provide funding for a complete production,” said Howell. “Then we would be filming around Eatonton for about 28 days.”