TRINIDAD – If you ever wanted to see a movie or a television star, Trinidad was the place to be Tuesday.
The new NBC series “Chase” was being shot in the small town to the west in Henderson County, and it caused quite a stir with local residents.
“This is very exciting for our town and our school,” Trinidad Superintendent David Atkeisson, who’s students and teachers all play extras in this episode, said. “We have been having a great time today, and the kids are loving it. It’s a great way for our town and school to be recognized.”
“Chase” revolves around Annie Frost (Kelli Giddish), a deputy U.S. Marshal, and her high-priority fugitive-apprehension team that trace down dangerous criminals in South Texas.
A pilot for the show was shot in Dallas last March, and NBC picked up the series for its upcoming fall lineup. The show debuts Monday, Sept. 20.
Atkeisson said the producers and director showed up at the school one day in August, about a week before the teachers were scheduled to report.
“I was in my office one day, and they just pulled up to the front, and came in to talk to me,” Atkeisson said. “They told me it was a new show, based out of Dallas, and that they were filming all over the state.”
The superintendent said they wanted to know what it would take for them to be able to use the school for some of the scenes of this episode that centers around a small child that is abducted from the school.
“They told me they wanted to use our teachers and students as extras in the show,” he said. “They said there would be some compensation to all of the extras and the school. It’s not much, but it is a little.”
Atkeisson said the school board discussed it, and thought it would be good for the district and the town.
“They didn’t tell me this, but I think what attracted them to our town is the overpass on the highway,” he said. “From what I understand, they are going to use it this afternoon.”
Trinidad Police personnel and DPS Troopers had the westbound side of State Highway 31, starting at the red light, blocked off. West-bound traffic was re-routed down the eastbound side.
The production crew placed a semi-tractor trailer truck, using a crane, over the bridge, as if it had crashed, and was about to go over.
Cole Hauser, who has been in such films as “Good Will Hunting,” “2 Fast 2 Furious,” and the FOX series “K-Ville,” just to name a few, plays Jimmy Godfrey, part of the Marshal team who is going after the kidnapper. He said they were going to film the chase scene in the afternoon, and the truck was part of it.
“The cool thing about this show is we do all of our own stunts, and don’t use any extras,” Hauser told an entertainment film crew. “We are all pretty physically fit, and we work pretty hard to make it look real.”
A production assistant said the afternoon shoot would entail using a helicopter, cables and a chase across the bridge.
Atkeisson said the school’s part would be concluded when they finished filming at the school.
With props in hand, different assistant directors put the Trinidad students through some acting lessons as they would be the backdrop for each scene where the child is taken, and where the mother discovers her missing.
Students and teachers had to walk through different areas, acting like they were playing together after school. Other adults from Trinidad played the role of parents who are there picking up their kids from school.
“This is so much different then I pictured it would be,” Atkeisson said. “Everyone is so quiet. There are so many people here, but it is amazing how quiet it is, even when they are not shooting.”
The production crew consisted of a total of more the 1,000 people, according to a producer. There were crews of 25 to 50 people for everything from lighting, sound, cameras, catering, wardrobe, makeup and even stand-ins.
Bobbie Pruitt, who plays the little girl who gets abducted, said this is the first series she has been in. She got the part after an audition in Dallas.
“I’ve been acting about two and-a-half years,” the 10-year-old Pruitt said. “I like all the people here, and they tell where to go, and coach me some.”
A stand-in, who is used to standing in the place of where the actor will be to help set the lighting and sound before the scene is actually filmed, said the show shoots all over Texas. They have been everywhere from Fort Worth, Palmer, Seagoville, Houston, Austin and many small towns in between.
The episode that is being shot in Trinidad is scheduled to air in October, according to producers.