Movie to be filmed in Haywood County

By Brittney Champion and DeeAnna Haney | May 16, 2014

The towns of Canton and Waynesville will be the backdrop for the fictional town of Mission Grove, North Carolina, in an upcoming movie that will start filming locally later this month.

“Chasing Grace,"by Catalyst Pictures, is a faith-based story of a pastor's family and a tragic accident that threatens them. This turn of events leads to complex betrayals between two brothers who blame each other. But the concluding message of the film is forgiveness.

The film is based on the book, "Discovering Grace," published in 2009 by David Temple, who is not only the writer of the film, but also the director and producer.

"I have come up with a 'family-thriller' that will be unlike any other faith-based film," Temple said.

Actor Michael Joiner, whose breakthrough performance was in the faith-based film "Grace Card" in 2010, will be playing the lead role of Pastor Johnathon Matheson. Ashley Jenkins, of Winston Salem, is another up and coming actress in the film.

Most other actors and actresses are from Winston Salem, Greensboro, Charlotte and Atlanta.

"We wanted to try and keep everyone Southern," Temple said.

Filming is scheduled to begin on Memorial Day.

Making the decision on where to film was not hard for Temple. He was a big fan of Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains, and knew he wanted it to be in Western North Carolina. It was Jackie Curé, a land Realtor in Haywood County, who gave him the idea of coming here to shoot the film.

“She said to me, 'Why be in Buncombe when you could be in Haywood,'” said Temple. “She should be called the Little Mayor of Waynesville.”

Growing up, Temple visited Lake Junaluska with his father for the annual Methodist Convention, so he was familiar with the Waynesville area. But it was Cure who opened the doors to help the award-winning director meet people in Waynesville and Canton, where much of the movie will be filmed.

Cure lived in Haywood County for 14 years and her family still lives here. Though she's now a resident of Buncombe County, she still considers Haywood home.

"When I moved here 20 years ago, I was amazed at the beauty of the people and how nice they were," Cure said.

She met Temple and some of his crew in the fall when he rented her home in Asheville while filming another movie. When he mentioned his intentions to film "Chasing Grace" in the Asheville area, Cure was quick to suggest Haywood County instead.

Because of her connections in Haywood, she was able to find many locations that Temple needed for several scenes. One of them was a jail cell.

"At 10 p.m. one night the film crew sent me a text saying they found a jail in Madison County. I said we can't lose to Marshall — we need jail bars," said Cure.

After making a few phone calls with local law enforcement, she tracked down what the film crew said was a perfect place for the jail scene — the Canton Police Department.

Other local places to be featured in the film is Waynesville First Baptist Church, the Classic Wineseller, Walker garage, owned by Grace and Clayton Cathey, Haywood Community College, Canton Middle School and Cure's aunt's house off Camp Branch Road.

Temple said he was grateful to the people of Haywood who were always saying, "what can we do to help?"

"When I met the people, I knew it was a match made in heaven," Temple said, adding that everyone likes the premise of the story and welcomed him with open arms, without hesitation. "Everyone was so darn nice."

Restaurants, businesses, law enforcement, the Tourism Development Authority, town of Waynesville and town of Canton and more were all more than willing to accommodate the film. Each of the town boards approved the filming at recent board meetings.

Cure hopes her hard work to help facilitate this film coming to Haywood County will pay off by attracting tourists. With the mountains and old buildings, Cure said, "It's just a straight up commercial. It's beautiful."

Open Casting Call

The producers of "Chasing Grace" are in need of people willing to be extras in the movie, which will begin filming Monday, May 26, in Waynesville.

Extras are not required to have previous acting experience, but they must understand what being an extra involves and requires.

Contact with the subject line: EXTRA to learn of all the specific details for the shoot. Please note that regardless of rain, they will still be shooting.