By Meghan Pierce
PETERBOROUGH, NH — If the filmmaker behind “On Golden Pond” has his way he will be filming his next project in downtown Peterborough as early as next month.
Ernest Thompson, who won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for “On Golden Pond,” was in Peterborough Saturday mingling with potential investors at the Fry Fine Art Gallery at a reception for his next film “Parallel America.”
Thompson said Wednesday he is excited the independent feature film will be shot and produced entirely in New Hampshire.
“We’re pushing the fact that it’s going to be filmed in its entirety in New Hampshire,” Thompson s aid. “‘On Golden Pond” was shot 38 years ago and there’s never been another film shot entirely in New Hampshire since.”
Based on the play written by Thompson, “On Golden Pond” was shot on Squam Lake in Holdnerness 38 years ago. The story is set at a vacation house in New England, not specifically New Hampshire, Thompson said, but was shot entirely in New Hampshire. Which is something no major motion picture has attempted since, he said.
“I just look at New Hampshire as a giant back lot where we can shoot anything,” he said.
Thompson said he sees New Hampshire as an untapped resource in the movie industry. Films are typically shot in Los Angeles or Vancouver, he said.
“Those cities have been shot out and that’s not true of Peterborough and that area,” Thompson said.
He recalled filming a movie in Vancouver, Canada, a few years back and said when he asked the location scout for an unfilmed area of the city he was told there were none.
“I asked the location scout, ‘show me some areas that haven’t been shot a lot,’ he said, ‘no such place,’” Thompson said. “New Hampshire is relativity under-exposed. … Those cities have been shot out and that’ not true of Peterborough and that area,”
Filming is set to start in September, he said, and he would like to use locations in Peterborough.
“Peterborough is very attractive and unique, so I’m going to shoot in that area. …I just love that downtown area,” Thompson said. “And Jaffrey and Dublin maybe.”
While Thompson has lived in the Lakes Region for the past 30 years, he said, he said his roots are in the Monadnock Region. He grew up in Walpole and has fond memories of visiting an uncle who lived in Peterborough. He also had family in Nelson and Harrisville and would often swim as a child in Silver Lake, which sits in both of those Monadnock towns.
Silver Lake inspired the naming of Golden Pond, he said.
“There’s actually no such lake,” he said. “When I was a kid we went to Silver Lake, and I didn’t want to call it that.”
Parallel America is the story of three college friends who started a movement back in the 1960s and now 50 years later are brought back together again when one of them makes a bid for U. S. Congress. This friend is now a wealthy, Trump-supporting politician and the mayor of Portsmouth. His two friends, who are still cl andestinely working for “the movement,” conspire to get their friend elected because they see it as their last and best chance to make a difference.
Thompson said the movie, while touching on politics of the day, is not political. The main message is no matter where you fall politically to get involved, vote and do your part even if you don’t think it will make a difference.
In this political climate is would be easy to pick a side, but that’s not what “Parallel America” is about. Thompson said the movie’s message is, in a way, inspired by JFK’s 1961 inaugural address, which Thompson remembers hearing as a child, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”
“We’re just going to keep going and that’s the America Spirit and that’s what this movie is about to me,” he said.
Thompson wrote the screenplay and plans to direct and star in the film.
Emmy winning NYPD Blue star Gordon Clapp and critically acclaimed New York actress Lisa Bostnar are also in the movie along with Alvin Epstein, the original Lucky in the first Broadway production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot.
Both Clapp and Bostnar have stared in Peterborough Players productions and have new Hampshire ties. Clapp grew up in North Conway and Bostnar now lives in Jaffrey.
“We can make a true New Hampshire product,” he said.
Thompson describes his script is timely, funny and deeply emotional. And like “On Golden Pond,” “Parallel America” aims to speak to all generations and has a multi-generational cast.
“I think like ‘On Golden Pond’ it is intergenerational and has something to say to everyone,” Thompson said.
While Thompson said he is looking for investors to help make the film, he is also looking for people who want to help in other ways whether they want to help behind the scenes as a gopher or providing a location or in front of the camera as an actor or an extra.
To read this article online at the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, click here.