Fireballs from space? Crew films sci-fi in Chatham

CorrespondentJune 16, 2011 

— One family will struggle to survive this week when fireballs from space and a local film crew descend on N.C. 751 in eastern Chatham County.

Traffic will be detoured around the area between U.S. 64 and Horton Pond Road, east of Jordan Lake, while "The Carrington Event" is being filmed.

The 30- to 40-minute film focuses on a rural family and how the members cope after a cataclysmic solar disruption of the world's power grids. The film is based on an event in 1859 in which severe space weather and solar flares set telegraph lines on fire and sent out false messages, director Rob Underhill said.

"NASA came up with a report to detail what would happen if that same thing happened today," Underhill said. "It's pretty grim, so we're going with the premise that if the same thing happened today, how would life change after that?"

Underhill, a Michigan native who graduated from N.C. State University, said he and his partner, Larry Gardner, came up with the idea for the pilot script. They are also writing a feature-length script. They hope to sell the film to a TV network or movie production company, he said. The film's producer, Brad Christians, lives in Apex and is a partner with Underhill in Carrington Movie LLC, the company behind the film.

"The Carrington Event" has been many years in the making, Underhill said.

State Department of Transportation officials and Chatham County sheriff's deputies plan to reroute traffic through Saturday night. Filming at two Chatham County locations will start at 9 a.m. today with exterior work and move indoors by Friday, Underhill said.

Drivers on U.S. 64 will be routed to Farrington Point Road, Horton Pond Road and N.C. 751. Those traveling south on N.C. 751 will follow the reverse route.

Chatham County firefighters also will be involved, helping with a controlled burn and pyrotechnics work next week.

Actress Jennifer Russoli said she recently filmed her part as the scientist who tells the world in a televised interview about the "impending doom."

The Oak Ridge, N.C., resident with several leading-actress credits, said she was excited to be working with Underhill and director of photography Aravind Ragupaphi.

"I've been following (Underhill's) work over the past years," Russoli said. "I saw his short films and Aravind, he has tons of credits. They're very brilliant, both of them are."

This is the 12th short film that Underhill has directed and produced since 2006. His most recent production, "Wolf Call," was released in October. The film tells the story of a missing 14-year-old boy in 1956 Mississippi who turns up dead and the resulting magazine interview with the two men acquitted of his murder.

"Wolf Call" has won five awards this year, including Best Short Subject in the N.C. Black Film Festival. .

tammy.grubb1@yahoo.com or 336-380-1325

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