West Seattle, White Center, & Burien residents are among cast and crew in production with a supernatural thriller/drama, "Ghostlight" being shot in the historic Everett Theater in downtown Everett. Some claim it is haunted. Pictured top, by the old pipe organ, L-R: Jason Alberts the sound mixer raised in Des Moines, Lisa Coronado of West Seattle, Brian Sutherland who has starred in West Seattle-based productions, & Burien-raised Jeff Farrell, producer, director, writer. Below, Coronado, Sutherland & Farrell outside theater.
Movie "Ghostlight" filmed in haunted historic theater, say West Seattle & Burien cast & crew
Like the haunted Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film, "The Shining", the historic Everett Theater plays a starring role in a movie in production, "Ghostlight". But, unlike the mythical Inn, the 1901 theater, formerly the Everett Opera House, may actually host some spooky guests too stubborn to leave.
That, according to many of the independent film's cast and crew, some from West Seattle, White Center, and Burien. Believers include the film's stars, West Seattle's Lisa Coronado, and Brian Sutherland, who also starred in the short, "All My Presidents", shot, in part, in North Admiral, produced by Coronado and West Seattle's Alder Sherwood.
Sutherland and Coronado portray a married couple in the new film as they did in the short. The West Seattle Herald highlighted Sutherland in his starring super-hero role in "The Collectibles", and he will star in a soon-to-be-produced film "HÄNDS OF THUNDER", by West Seattle-based Corewood Productions, with Coronado, Sherwood, and Abundant's Lorraine Montez, a former West Seattle resident.
Burien-raised Jeff Ferrell is "Ghostlight" producer/director/writer. This is his first feature-length film.
Also a Burien resident is Jim Charleston, the production supervisor, who directed six "Northern Exposure" episodes as well as numerous episodes of X-Files, Nash Bridges, and others. Charleston is respected as a seasoned professional by Ferrell and the others. At 58, that's considered, well, old, for "Hollywood standards."
Jason Alberts, the sound mixer, grew up in Des Moines and now lives in Ballard.
White Center's Russell Hodgkinson, a full-time actor, portrays the theater caretaker. He relocated from New Orleans about eight years ago with more of a theater background. He has a rugged look, and while grateful for the gigs, he said he does get type-casted.
"I get blue collar stuff, the redneck, the drunk, the farmer," he said. "But I've been known to cut my hair and shave and put a suit on. I play an Irish mob boss in another film. I wear a suit and get to be a bad ass."
"Ghostlight" assistant director, Davin Michael Stedman, a longtime Everett resident, said he recommended the Everett Theater to Ferrell.
"This place is really haunted," Stedman expressed with sincerity. "I arranged for Jeff to spend the night here." That sparked Ferrell's imagination, and the stage was set.
Said Charleston, "I'm not into supernatural too much, but I can't disprove it either. When I heard Jeff was staying in the theater overnight to see if it was haunted I questioned hits sanity just a little bit. But then he came up with this script because of his experience. It was a terrific inspiration."
The crew did some shooting during the graveyard shift.
"About two or three supernatural things happen here each night," Stedman said. "We were so focused shooting 7:00 p.m to 7:00 a.m. that we had to move on, even when crazy things happened. When Brian did some intense scenes on stage by the pipe organ, it's keys began making mysterious sounds. That was the only time it happened.
He continued, "'Smiling Al' is one of the most prevalent of the ghosts. They believe he is a custodian who used to live here. He whistles a lot. He likes to hang out at the dressing room. This door, even if you close it, it always opens.
And an old lady, a former patron, walks around in the balcony. You hear a lot of footsteps in the balcony."
Said Sutherland, who calls the film a supernatural thriller, "Lisa and I have this friendship that really carries on. We are very emotionally vulnerable in this film. In the story, I win a contest and I'll win a lot of money if I can stay in this haunted theater overnight. My character doesn't believe in that, in anything. He is an atheist. She is the opposite."
"My character very much has dreams, premonitions, sees ghosts," Coronado said. "Because we're so different I feel isolated with my beliefs, standing up for what I think is right and true even though it seems crazy. My daughter, Bella, is the same age as our daughter in 'Ghostlight'. This film is so dark and deep I have to be careful not to mix up my real life with this one, but I think my experience as a mother with a young daughter helps with the base. You have that natural instinct."
Sutherland also has a daughter, 3 year-old Rhythm. He said her name was Buddhist in nature.
Ferrell would not divulge the kind of spooky special effects in store for movie-goers, but he promised to deliver.
"It is a horror film, and for people who want to be scared, they will be scared," assured Ferrell. "If you take away all the horror elements, it's a good drama about this couple in crisis. To make a really good horror film you need a story that's a really good drama first. If the dramatic aspects and relationship aspects are truthful and honest, then, when the horror comes, it is that much scarier.
"Lisa and Brian have incredible chemistry," Ferrell added. "You immediately feel it when you watch them together. The seem like a real married couple. You rarely see a relationship that feels that real in a movie. Individually they're both incredible performers, together they're even better."