By Jason Hawk
June 6, 2014
A comedy starring “The Big Bang Theory” star Melissa Rauch will shoot in Amherst starting June 29.
Rauch, who plays cute microbiologist Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz (wife of engineer and astronaut Howard Wolowitz) on the hit CBS sitcom, will portray a former world-class gymnast returning to her small hometown in “The Bronze.”
She also co-wrote the script with real-life husband Winston Rauch, according to production supervisor Stephen Campanella.
“The Bronze” is the first feature film by veteran director Bryan Buckley, known for creating more than 50 commercials that have aired during the Super Bowl.
“He’s the king of Super Bowl advertising,” Campanella said.
Among his accolades listed on IMDB.com are 37 Cannes Lions and five Emmy’s. His company, Hungryman, won the Cannes Film Festival Palme D’or as top commercial production firm in the world in 2004.
Buckley’s 2012 “Asad” was also nominated in 2012 for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. It told the story of a young Somali boy’s fishing trip interrupted by pirates of the coast of Africa.
Campanella said Buckley’s commercials are marked by a comedic flair, making him the perfect choice to work with Rauch on “The Bronze.”
Other talent for the film has yet to be announced.
Amherst mayor David Taylor said filming is expected to take place at or around Quarry Cafe, Ziggy’s Pub, and Cedar Pub.
A couple of residential locations near Steele High School may also be used in the movie, said Main Street Amherst head Teresa Gilles, who has been helping Campanella and company scout locations.
While most of “The Bronze” will be shot in Amherst, Midway Mall will also likely be used, she said.
Rauch’s hometown will also be called Amherst in the film, though it had originally been written as Butler, Ohio.
Gilles said producers plan to use as many real downtown shop names as possible, though some may be changed to accommodate the script.
The film crew has set up a temporary headquarters at the Main Street Community Center and has already met with city officials, including police chief Joseph Kucirek and fire chief Wayne Northeim.
Taylor said they discussed logistics and the impact on the city, which may include brief street closures. A second meeting confirming the production schedule will be necessary before shooting can begin, he said.
It’s expected to take four weeks to complete Amherst’s part in “The Bronze.”
There will be no cost to the city, and any special equipment, police work, or crowd control needed will be paid for by the film company, Taylor said.
But neither will there be revenue generated by the visit because Amherst has no film permits.
Gilles said the crew will take every effort to keep access open to downtown stores and offices.
“They don’t want to hinder anybody,” she said. “They’ll work with all our businesses.”
Campanella said more information about the movie will be made available in a couple of weeks. He wants to use the News-Times to get word out to the public about locations and possible street closures, so watch the newspaper and www.theamherstnewstimes.com for updates.
The public is welcome to turn out to shoots and watch, but Campanella said he’s trying to keep the movie’s footprint small and doesn’t want to generate huge crowds or traffic jams.
“The Bronze” is the third film to use Amherst in recent memory.
Work just wrapped this spring on “The John Penton Story,” chronicling the life of the local motorcycle pioneer. Some guerrilla filming also took place at an Amherst school bingo night for use in last year’s “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” starring Johnny Knoxville.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or on Twitter at @EditorHawk.