ARLINGTON — Haller Middle School’s Stadium was buzzing with red and blue on Sunday, Aug. 4, as hundreds of people crowded the stands for a chance to be an extra in a Hollywood film called ‘Seven Minutes.’
The film is a contemporary heist thriller, set in Everett, about friends and former athletes who find themselves resorting to desperate measures for cash.
“It’s the story of a group of guys that get into a desperate situation,” said Jacob Mosler, producer and unit production manager. “They are short on some money and they find a way to close the gap — by robbing their uncle. They come up with a plan that is very simple, ‘In and out in seven minutes.’ They go in and try to heist this mortgage broker where their uncle has some money in the safe. Of course, things do not go according to plan and the story is told in a nonlinear fashion, so we learn how each of the characters got there one by one. It’s a gripping, tight thriller about when things go wrong.”
Scenes of high school football were filmed on the Haller Stadium field, with teams from Everett and Cascade playing the roles of the athletes. Sam, the lead character played by Australian television actor Luke Mitchell, is the quarterback for the high school team and he and his buddy Owen, played by Zane Holtz, are trying to turn the losing game around. His girlfriend Kate, played by Leven Rambin, is cheering him on.
“We are filming two football games tonight,” said Mosler. “The story opens three years in the past and our lead character, Sam, is the quarterback. The big scene tonight is Sam and Kate are seniors in high school and Sam’s team is down by 14 and they are just trying to not lose by too much. We see Sam and Owen run through some plays and at the end we will see a sweet scene between Sam and Kate. It’s as if they are 17 or 18 years old when the story begins and then we cut to three years later and we see where all those characters are now.”
Director Jay Martin chose the Haller Middle School location because he felt that it was the most aligned with his creative vision for the high school scenes.
“When we were originally scouting, the director Jay Martin was looking for a grass football field,” said Mosler. “He wanted it to be moody and turf was just the wrong aesthetic. It left very few fields to choose from. We looked at this field, a field out in Monroe and a field in Stanwood and we just liked it the best for its natural look.”
Hundreds of people came out to the field, some arriving four hours prior to filming, for a chance to be in a Hollywood film.
“We live two blocks from here and we could see the lights of the field from our house,” said Judy Tilley, whose son Connor is a member of the Arlington High School robotics club. “It’s really exciting because he used to play on this field when he was a little kid and it’s really cool to have them here.”
Connor Tilley has participated in theater productions in the past and was glad for the opportunity to be a part of a movie, though it wasn’t for the first time.
“We have lived in Arlington for 16 years and we did one film downtown years ago, in front of Olympic, and then we did a film in Seattle when he was two” said Judy Tilley. “He’s done a lot of stage stuff and I’m an artist, so we enjoy theater and art and it’s just something that’s really fun to do.”
“I’m super happy, this looks like it’s going to be a party,” said Connor Tilley. “I’m pretty set that I want to do programming as a career but film is something I may want to do later in life as a hobby.”
Jeness Critz, of Snohomish, heard about the casting call in the newspaper and thought she’d give it a shot.
“Well, I just decided to come out,” she said. “I’ve never done anything like this before, so I’m excited.”
Kim Speed and Melanie Nasby heard about the casting through proximity — Nasby is a facility technician at Cascade Valley Hospital.
“I work at the hospital right next door,” said Nasby, who has been an Arlington resident for 19 years. “One of my friends said, ‘Hey look at this!’ and we thought we would check it out.”
Speed has been an Arlington resident for 35 years and says she hasn’t seen a movie filmed in Arlington for decades.
“I had a couple friends about 20 years be in a movie, and they filmed it between here and Darrington,” said Speed. “We’ve never done anything like this before, it’s something special. It turned out to be a nice day and it’s really exciting.”
The film is expected to be released in theaters in 2014.