I haven’t been able to blog much this month. Hollywood South has kept me busy working on a couple of movies. I’ve been privileged enough to work with dozens and dozens of Academy Award winners and nominees throughout my 20 year career, but I got a special kick out of one of my costars this month. Long before I was an actor, I was a movie lover and like most people in the world, I loved movies like The Terminator, True Lies and Twins. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been my Governor, my ideal of the American dream and one of my favorite movie stars – so imagine my delight when I found out he would also be my brother!
Maggie is a zombie-virus movie where Arnold gets to show his acting chops as a dad stuck in a horrible situation when his daughter, Abigail Breslin, contracts the zombie disease. I don’t usually talk about my movies until I’m sure I’m not on the cutting room floor, but working with this icon has me wanting to shout it to the world.
We shot at a beautiful old plantation just down the road from where I played Leonardo DiCaprio’s siter in Django Unchained. Homeplace Plantation was built by in the late 1700’s by Charles Paquet, a free man of color who also built Destrehan Plantation across the river. It features a beautiful green-gray and white checkered Italian marble floor in the large dining area. The property is not open to the public so I was privileged to be given a tour by a friend of the Keller family who has owned Homeplace since the late 1800’s.
The other movie I did this month was Convergence which was shot in Mobile, Alabama. Long ago, before I ever dreamed of becoming an actor, I moved to Mobile for about a year and earned my Masters in creative writing and English literature at the University of South Alabama (USA). Life often moves in circles and this month, I found myself filming just down the road from my old campus.
It’s true you can never go home again and both the campus and I have grown and changed over the years. USA now has a football team, new stadiums, huge modern buildings and a stately entrance. It was all very impressive. In March, the university will be recognizing me with their Distinguished Alumni Award and it was pretty exciting seeing the beautiful clock tower adorned with the names of previous recipients.
We stayed in one of Steelwood’s 2 lodges featuring 8 quaint guest rooms, 2 kitchens, a conference room, foosball and shuffle board tables and an expansive porch filled with rocking chairs overlooking the fully stocked scenic lake. We even had a private chef prepare us amazing meals. There was a saltwater pool surrounded by walls of cascading waterfalls and a jacuzzi! There’s even a big screen TV in the cabana so you don’t have to miss the game and plenty of tailgating provisions fill the bar.
Steelwood’s activities include fishing and hunting but the big attraction is the golf course designed by the award-winning Jerry Pate. I drove the cart and took photos of wildflowers while 3 of our gang played 9 holes. The course was truly gorgeous so, even though it was cold and rainy and I wasn’t playing, I had a wonderful time just being out there. I appreciated both the natural beauty of the land and meticulously crafted beauty of the perfectly manicured and creatively designed course. Bonus – they drove out to deliver us cocktails as we finished the 4th hole.