By Chris McDaniel
Peninsula Daily News
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Several cast members of the pilot, an episode of a proposed series that is used to sell the show to networks for broadcast, were introduced at a public launch party attended by about 100 people at 7 Cedars Casino on Aug. 29.
The show's creator, lead writer, executive producer and director, Scott A. Capestany, hopes to have the final actors — those playing the lead characters of Dr. Riley Stone and Devon Grace — filled soon so filming can begin Sept. 23.
Among the actors on hand at the party were Kevin Lee, Betty Rubino, Gregory Marks, Tim Forehand and Julio Richburg.
Also in attendance was Karolyn Grimes, 75, of Port Orchard, who is known for her role in the 1946 film “It's A Wonderful Life,” starring Jimmy Stewart.
She will play herself in a cameo in the pilot episode.
In “It's A Wonderful Life,” Grimes portrays Zuzu Bailey, the little girl who says, “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”
Grimes agreed to make an appearance on the show because “I want to support all the western Washington independent films,” she said.
“I think they are wonderful and I like to see this community's spirit, because after all, 'It's a Wonderful Life' is all about community and coming together for a purpose, and I think that is what we are doing here.”
The show will give “the people of this community a chance to show their abilities and their capabilities,” she said.
“I think it is just wonderful they have the opportunity.”
Grimes hopes the North Olympic Peninsula and local Native American culture benefit from the production.
“I want it all to be recognized,” she said. “I live here. This is my home,” Grimes said.
Capestany also wants to shine a spotlight on what the Peninsula has to offer.
Capestany has spent the past few months finalizing film locations in Port Townsend, Forks, Port Angeles, Sequim and at Lake Quinault.
His production company, Capestany Films, is based in Seattle and has a satellite office in Beverly Hills, Calif.
“One of my biggest objectives is to bring higher-level productions to this region where we can share with the general public that movies are being made in Washington,” he said.
The pilot episode, to be filmed in high definition, follows a core group of characters drawn to the interior of the Quinault Rain Forest in search of ancient Native American artifacts and lore.
The expedition is inspired when fictitious character Dr. Riley Stone, a professor at the University of Washington specializing in Native American history and archaeology, is tipped off by a teenage girl about a Native American legend supposedly hidden in the forest.
Along with billionaire financier and global explorer Devin Grace, Stone assembles a group of explorers and scientists to investigate an uncharted region of the forest rumored to contain ancient treasures of a lost civilization.
As the team sets out on the adventure, bizarre and unexplained events begin to unfold.
The structure of storytelling for the adventure drama will be similar to the popular ABC series “Lost,” Capestany has said.
Capestany is pleased with his current lineup of actors so far.
“I am pretty happy right now,” he said.
“We are still working on a couple slots to fill, but I am the type of writer that writes for the dynamics of the actors that I know,” he said.
“A lot of writers don't do that. They will just write a story and hope to find somebody to fit that slot. I don't do that. I write with specific people in mind, and I let them know before I get writing.”
That is “kind of a risky way to write,” he said.
“You won't get a lot of that in Hollywood. You've got to be able to work with the right people.”
His cast is “already in rehearsals right now,” he said.
“I am pretty excited. It is really fulfilling knowing I was able to build a team that was able to come together, stay together, and see it all the way through” to the launch party.
“Right after this, we all get to work here in the next three weeks,” he said.
Capestany's team currently is “putting all of the real dynamics together,” he said.
“We are story-boarding scenes. We are going to locations and finding out where we are going to put the camera and how we are going to film.”
Planning ahead is key, because filming live action can be “very complicated,” he said.
But the hardest part is finished, he added.
“The easy part is actually showing up and filming.
“The really difficult part is the six months or year leading up to it because that is where you really have to keep a cohesive bond with your business partners, your investors [and] the networks you are talking to that are interested” in pursuing a series based on the pilot episode.
“If you can get through that, that is the tough part,” Capestany said.
“The easy part for me is just showing up and setting the camera up.”
A teaser for the show can be viewed online at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-Teaser.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or firstname.lastname@example.org.