HARPSWELL — Most Mainers hoping to be in movies move to Los Angeles.
But for Linda Prybylo, the opportunity came while she was walking her dog in Cundy’s Harbor.
Prybylo is one of several local residents who have acted as extras in the independent feature film “Blow the Man Down,” filming in Harpswell since February.
Prybylo said she heard about the movie coming to town through the grapevine. When she spotted people chatting at the harbor front two months ago, she took a chance.
“I was out walking my dog and there was a group of four or five young people who were obviously not fishermen discussing the wharf and everything else, so I remembered in the back of my mind that these could be the movie people,” she said.
Since then, Prybylo has been featured as an extra in more than one scene in the film. She recruited her twin sister Laura McCann, and McCann’s husband Terry McCann, to be extras, too.
Several posts on Facebook indicate casting directors were looking for a wide range of extras in the area, but also real lobstermen and fishermen.
“Blow the Man Down” is written and directed by Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy, and, according to IMDB, was selected to participate in Film Independent’s 2017 Fast Track Program during the Los Angeles Film Festival last June.
According to the film organization’s website, the Fast Track program “helps producer-director teams advance their projects through meetings with top industry executives,” which help them gain “valuable exposure” for their projects and thus speed the films towards completion.
Here’s how “Blow the Man Down” is described on Film Independent’s website:
“An accidental murder. An established madam who does her dirtiest business while the town willingly looks the other way. Fifty grand of cash up for grabs and the local men out to sea … enter two sisters with nothing and everything to lose.”
The extras said they were told the story is evolving, but that it is supposed to be a “dark” thriller shot in the style of film noir. Harpswell’s fictional name in the movie is Easter Cove.
The movie is being produced by two companies: Secret Engine, and Bona Fide Productions, which produced the 2006 Oscar-award winning film “Little Miss Sunshine” and the 2013 Oscar-nominated film “Nebraska.” Bona Fide was also behind the HBO series “The Leftovers.”
Drew Houpt, producer of “Blow the Man Down,” was the associate producer on another Oscar-winner, “Birdman,” which took home the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2015.
Two of the lead actresses in the film are Emmy-winner Margo Martindale, known for her roles on two FX dramas, “The Americans” and “Justified,” and Annette O’Toole, known for her role in the TV show “Smallville” and in the 1990 TV movie version of Stephen King’s “It.”
Martindale also acted in the 2004 winner for Best Picture, “Million Dollar Baby,” and alongside Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts in 2013’s “August: Osage County.”
Also involved in the project is actress Morgan Saylor, known for her role as Dana Brody on the Showtime series “Homeland.”
In addition to her roles as an extra, Prybylo, a landscape painter, will also have a few of her paintings featured in the film and be credited for them. Prybylo said she mentioned her work to a crew member, who then sent the art director to her home.
“She said, ‘Oh, you do landscape painting, we may be looking for some paintings for the main character’s house, would you be interested?” Prybylo said. “I was like ‘yes,’ so that led into the art director coming to my house, and they selected four of my paintings that they’re borrowing for the movie.”
Karen Schneider, director of the Cundy’s Harbor Library, auditioned for a small speaking role of a bartender after seeing a poster looking for extras at the Tontine Mall.
“It was for three lines. They sent me the script,” she said. “I tried out and it was so funny because they said, ‘Whose your agent?’ And I just started laughing hysterically and said I haven’t acted since high school.”
Schneider said she auditioned alongside two local professional actors and wasn’t selected, but was asked if she would like to be an extra.
Schneider, the McCanns, and another Cundy’s Harbor resident, Rachel Miller, were all extras in a funeral scene shot in the Islands Community Church last month.
Terry McCann said they shot the scene in the snow, which was difficult because there was no heat in the church. Each of the extras were also featured in a funeral reception scene.
In addition to several locations around Harpswell, the film also shot in Bath one day in March. And, although the crew was looking for marine workers to be extras, Harbormaster Paul Plummer said he hasn’t had any contact with film crew other than being notified that they might use some landings and launches.
The movie has a slight Brunswick connection, too: Union Street Bakery and Cake Shop having provided catering.
Though they were only small parts, the local extras worked long days on set, and were compensated for it. Extras were paid a $50 stipend for a “full day” of work, which Miller said meant 12 hours for her in one instance, and $30 for a half day, which typically meant from around 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
The last day of local shooting was scheduled to be April 6, and Prybylo said just being involved was an honor.
“(It was) on the bucket list; I always thought it would be fun to be an extra in a movie,” she said. “And then it knocks on your front door.”
On location in Harpswell April 3, crew members working on “Blow the Man Down” shovel delivered snow into the yard of a Cundy’s Harbor home, alongside a wooden cutout of a lobsterman.
Karen Schneider, left, and Rachel Miller, on the set of a funeral scene being shot for the indie film “Blow the Man Down” at Islands Community Church last month in Harpswell.
Karen Schneider, left, Rachel Miller, Linda Prybylo, Laura McCann and Terry McCann in Cundy’s Harbor. The Harpswell residents were paid extras in the indie film “Blow the Man Down.”