Despite the brakes pumped on Hollywood movie-making and theater-going experiences, the inde-pendent production of The Fairfield Boys, a mini-series filming in the Cottage Grove area, has managed to find its way through the storm.
“We’ve actually made progress,” said Director Peter Wickliffe, who also serves as writer, producer and an actor in the series. “And we’ve actually extended the series.”
The story is set in the 1850s backwoods of the old west, following two brother outlaws (the Fairfield Boys) who are hunted by a skilled bounty hunter out for his own kind of justice.
The brothers’ lives are fatefully intertwined with two unsuspecting runaways, changing all of their lives forever.
Through their adventures, they discover the bonds of family among thieves in a five-part mini-series filmed entirely against the scenic Oregon landscape.
“It’s spurred from the ideas of films like ‘Lonesome Dove’ and ‘Comanche Moon,’” said Wickliffe, adding that the visual style is inspired by “The Revenant.”
The series now includes two prequel episodes, though the change was not initially planned.
“Our lead for the series ended up stuck over in New Zealand,” explained Wickliffe.
In a twist of unfortunate timing, the international lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic kept the actor from returning. Wickliffe finally made the decision to recast and forge ahead.
With three completed episodes to date and one streaming on Amazon Prime Video, the next epi-sode is to be available on Prime Video the Aug. 28. Another episode is scheduled to begin filming next month.
For a small production with a light crew shooting outdoors, social distancing has not been an issue, Wickliffe said, which has allowed them to continue while bigger productions have come to a halt.
“It’s been busier,” he added. “Just because we’ve been having to take on a lot of extra responsibilities that otherwise would be covered by someone else.”
Shooting has mainly taken place out by Dorena Lake, though filming locations for some future epi-sodes have yet to be fully scouted.
Wickliffe said the new restrictive environment amid the pandemic has minimized some location opportunities, but remaining adaptable has been the key to pushing through.
“My goal has just been to keep the production alive and keep momentum,” he said. “For every person we lose or every snag that we hit where something falls through, something always seems to pop up — and we’ve been lucky and blessed enough to continue forward. … Individuals in the area have really saved us.”
As an independent production, Wickliffe is seeking help with funding and recently raised just $175 through a Facebook fundraising effort. Another fundraising campaign is planned for next month.
Final episodes are slated to wrap up filming in the area next year.
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