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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Movie maker sheds light on meth problem in 'Iowa'

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Residents of this southeast Iowa town watched from their cars and front porches as filming began last week for the independent movie "Iowa."

Crews filmed in a neighborhood church, a bowling alley and in a rural Appanoose County home.

But some Centerville residents have been able to do more than just watch.

Casting directors picked about 150 Centerville residents for extra roles. Other townspeople have provided props.

Others hauled equipment, ran errands for producers, or kept peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and soda handy.

"It's like everybody from Iowa wants to have a part of it," said Charissa King, of Centerville, who waits tables at the local country club.

King, a student at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, landed jobs as the leading lady's stand-in and an extra who kisses her real-life boyfriend.

Channing Whitaker, a University of Iowa senior from Centerville, is a production assistant, hushing bystanders as the camera rolls.

The film depicts the lives of two young, working-class lovers, who become addicted to methamphetamine.

Matt Farnsworth, who wrote and directs the film, will co-star with his fiancee, Diane Foster. Actors Rosanna Arquette and John Savage play parents in the film.

Farnsworth, who spent summers in Centerville with his grandparents, said he decided to make the film after he returned a few years ago for his grandfather's funeral and heard stories about the meth problem in Iowa.

Farnsworth said he prepared for the film by reading studies and news reports about meth.

Law enforcement photographs of meth labs helped Farnsworth re-create them for his film, which has a budget of under $1 million.

City officials and residents feared the movie would cast their town in a bad light, but Farnsworth said he made two promises to Centerville residents: The town would be renamed in the film, and that "nobody looks like a hick."

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