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Town set abuzz with Costner movie shoot

DIDSBURY - Residents of Didsbury were out in force checking out the filming of Kevin Costner's latest movie, Let Him Go.
Didsbury movie town
Didsbury Municipal Library staff and former staff, from left, Inez Kosinski, Donna Christensen, Nikki Davidson with her three-year-old daughter Harlow, and Monique Fieldler pose with Kevin Costner outside of JD’s Restaurant on 19th Avenue in Didsbury on April 17.

DIDSBURY - Residents of Didsbury were out in force checking out the filming of Kevin Costner's latest movie, Let Him Go.

The suspense thriller shot scenes inside JD's Restaurant, as well as on the street outside, on April 17 and near the hospital on April 18.

Although there were some road closures and some disruptions to businesses on 19th Avenue, most folks thought it was well worth it for the excitement of having a big Hollywood production shooting in town once again and seeing a major movie star at work.

Several locals got the chance to meet Costner and take photographs with the Oscar-winning actor.

Nikki Davidson and other Didsbury Municipal Library staff were among those who were fortunate enough to meet Costner and get a photo.

"It was really exciting," said Davidson. "We were just hanging outside of JD's when they were filming. (Costner) saw Harlow, my three year old, and he just came up and started talking to us. We asked him to sign a library card and he did and took a picture with all us librarians."

Davidson said Costner was very friendly.

"We joked back and forth about his late fees," she said. "I think it's really good for the town and for the businesses. It's been really busy."

Jae Teskey, owner of JD's Restaurant, also got to meet Costner and watch the movie production closely from inside the restaurant.

Although the restaurant was closed for a week so the production crew could set up, Teskey thinks having the movie in town was great for Didsbury.

"It was nice," said Teskey. "(Costner) was really nice. He was nice enough to take a picture with us."

Teskey was surprised to see how much work went into doing one small scene for a movie.

"I never realized a movie took that long for one scene," she said. "I can appreciate good movies. I waited here until 1:30 a.m. before I went home (on shooting day, April 17) but they were working until 3:30 a.m. It was a long process.

"They said it was 45 seconds of a scene and it took 12 hours. They went over and over it and shot from every different angle. I will now think about that for each movie I watch from now on."

Like many in town, Teskey is looking forward to seeing the movie in theatres and checking out how her restaurant and the town look on the big screen.

She said they also made the food that was used in the scene in the movie.

Teskey saw co-star Diane Lane as well, although the actress was much more private than Costner.

"We said hello each time she passed by, very nice and polite," she said. "But I don't think she likes contact with strangers. Very polite and nice smile but pretty shy."

Vintage Coffee Bar was one of the businesses downtown that benefited from all the extra bodies in the area. Owner Brooke Mierke said they filled several coffee orders for the movie workers.

"It was great exposure for me," said Mierke. "I think having the movie filming in Didsbury was great for the town. Especially along our street. There are lots of empty spots on Main Street and other parts of Didsbury. So bringing some life and vibrancy and new people to the community was really good for us."

Mierke didn't feel the movie shoot was disruptive to the businesses on the block of 19th Avenue at all.

"I know there was some chatter on social media about it being disruptive but for the businesses around here - I know a few of the owners - we all loved it," she said. "It was really good. Even with parking stalls closed, people if they wanted to come watch, or come get coffee, or go across the street for wings - they find a parking spot and walk in. It was great for us. I talked to a few other business owners and it was great for them too."

Mierke said the production staff was great and very supportive.

"They always are," she said. "I was here when they did Wynonna Earp as well and they're 100 per cent about supporting local business. We opened early and stayed late for them as well because they're awesome. They came in three times a day. They chose to eat local, to drink local, which is so good for our economy."

Let Him Go is scheduled to be released in 2020.

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