For the first time, a feature film is being shot entirely in Middletown.
The United Front Films crew has been busy the last several days shooting “A Bachelor’s Valentine” throughout downtown Middletown.
The movie is directed by Middletown native Lana Read, 50, who graduated from Monroe High School in 1990, relocated to Cincinnati, then moved back to Middletown. She always has wanted to direct a movie in her hometown, especially in the revitalized downtown.
She was scouting potential locations for another movie when she realized “A Bachelor’s Valentine” was “a great film to shoot” in Middletown.
“The area represents the story,” Read said. “It has the charm.”
Some of the scenes have been shot at The Swire Inn, White Dog Saloon, BeauVerre Riordan Stained Glass Studios, the homes of Dan and Fran Sack and John and Avinne Kiser, the Council Chambers in the City Building, Brown’s Run County Club dining room, Governor’s Square and along the Great Miami River.
“I wanted to do it right in my hometown,” she said this week.
More than a dozen films have been shot in Butler County recently, including some scenes from the movie version of J.D. Vance’s book “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis.” The Netflix movie directed by Ron Howard starred Amy Adams and Glenn Close.
“A Bachelor’s Valentine” crew will be working in Middletown until early next week, then the film will go into post production. Read said she hopes to release the film early in 2023, just before Valentine’s Day.
Read called the 12 days of filming “pretty quick for a feature film.”
This will be her fourth feature film and viewing a completed project is “very gratifying” when it’s celebrated with the entire crew, she said.
In “A Bachelor’s Valentine,” Claire Knapp (Layla Cushman) moves to Paul Bachelor’s (Brian Gaskill) small town, and they try to repair their damaged lives while working together to benefit the entire community. But Knapp’s vindictive ex-husband Stuart Knapp (Vernon Wells, “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior,” “Commando,” and “Power Rangers”) will do anything he can to keep that from happening.
Read called it “a feel good film.”
For the scenes shot in the the Sack home, Fran and Dan had to remove all items off their walls, but were allowed to keep the family photos in place.
Then the Sacks were filmed eating dinner at The Swire Inn. She is looking forward to watching the movie.
“That will be interesting,” she said. “People always say when they see themselves, they always wish they were a little taller, a little slimmer.”
Mike Dranschak, owner of the White Dog, plays a bartender and has a speaking part, he said. He said some of the bar’s “regulars” are featured in a scene that was shot Wednesday night.