By Patrick McArdle
A new movie, currently in production in Rutland County, will feature a number of stars familiar to fans of genre movies, reality television, and nighttime and daytime soap operas.
The latest film directed by David Giancola, the sci-fi action adventure, “Axcellerator,” stars Sean Young, Maxwell Caulfield, Sam J. Jones, John James and Laura James.
Young has been a working actress for more than 35 years, with roles in comedies like “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” and “Stripes,” dramas such as “Wall Street” and “No Way Out,” and genre films such as “Blade Runner” and “Dune.”
Caulfield is probably best known for starring opposite Michelle Pfeiffer in “Grease 2.”
Jones played the title role in the camp classic, “Flash Gordon,” in 1980. His career got a more recent boost with his appearance in the Seth MacFarlane movie, “Ted.”
For those who remember the nighttime soap opera, “The Colbys,” the movie will be something of a reunion. John James played Jeff Colby, while Caulfield played his cousin, Miles Colby.
Playing her first starring role, Laura James has already been seen by millions of viewers, winning the 19th cycle of “America’s Next Top Model” in 2012.
She will be appearing in the movie with her father, John James, who has another notable “family connection.” James is producing the film for Edgewood Studios, in Rutland, for which he produced the 2007 movie “Illegal Aliens.”
The earlier film earned some notoriety because it was released about three months after the death of one of its stars, Anna Nicole Smith. Giancola later made and released a documentary, “Addicted to Fame,” about the experience.
Giancola said he was swamped with the work needed to film in Rutland and Killington, but John James said the filmmakers were “excited” to be able to work with such an experienced cast.
James called Young a “legend.”
“I can’t wait to meet her and work with her. She’s going to bring a lot to this role,” he said.
James said he wanted Jones because Edgewood wanted an actor who could bring a lot of character to a part that also required a lot of action.
“Sam Jones is so hot right now because of ‘Ted,’” he said. “He’s out literally every day signing autographs because of ‘Ted’ and the rediscovery of ‘Flash Gordon’ as a total cult film.”
His IMDB page shows that Jones has about 80 credits in television and movies.
“Very pleased to have Sam. He’s an old friend, and he’s really going to bring some good sci-fi following to the picture,” James said.
James recalled when his daughter called him while she was on spring break in college and asked about auditioning for a reality television show.
“She said, ‘Yeah, it’s for America’s Next Top Model’ and lo and behold, she won it,” he said.
The movie is not Laura James’ first part in a film, but it’s her first lead.
John James said he had a good scene with Caulfield, and pointed out that the two hadn’t worked together since “The Colbys” about 30 years ago.
The movie’s lead, Ryan Wesen, is someone John James called “another Giancola discovery.” Edgewood gave movie stars like Chris Evans, Jesse Eisenberg and Kate Bosworth some of their earliest roles. James said he believed Wesen is “going to be a star.”
Another leading part will be played by Mark “Woody” Keppel, who has made a number of movies with Edgewood, including “Illegal Aliens.” James said Keppel had a gift for comedy that was “perfect” for his “Axcellerator” character.
Other local actors have been cast in the film but James said he didn’t have their names at hand.
“(Vermonters) should praise Edgewood because David is the only one here making commercial films that actually go somewhere,” he said.
Vermont doesn’t offer tax credits or other incentives for films to be made in the state.
Giancola said recently that after the movie is finished, he plans to find the right distribution so the movie can be released next year.