Actor Kurt Russell films scenes in Calera for ‘Rivals of Amziah King’ movie

Published 1:35 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2023

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By EMILY SPARACINO | Special to the Reporter

CALERA – When Calera resident Kim Beasley was approached about her home possibly being used for filming scenes in the new Matthew McConaughey movie “The Rivals of Amziah King,” she almost couldn’t believe it.

Like many others, Beasley had heard the buzz about recent sightings of McConaughey in different parts of Alabama for the movie’s filming. But she never dreamed the filming would bring one of the movie’s other well-known actors, Kurt Russell, to Shelby County, much less her house.

“I’ve been here my entire life,” Beasley said. “I was like, ‘There is no way.’”

Beasley first heard about some of the filming happening in Calera in May.

The film’s production team had been in contact with Calera Main Street Executive Director Jackie Batson to scout potential locations for filming in Calera’s downtown area.

“I showed them properties downtown, some vacant, some thriving,” Batson said. “I really thought they weren’t going to use anything for a while. I was hopeful that something would work out for Calera.”

The team chose several places in the city for filming, including the former Bobby Bowdon’s Discount Furniture store and Unique Industries Inc., but they still needed to find a private residence for several scenes.

This is where Beasley and her family became involved.

Beasley said her sister-in-law, Ann Davis, happened to be with Batson when someone with the movie contacted her about finding a house with a pool for filming.

Davis immediately sent Beasley a text, asking if she minded if they considered her house.

“I said, ‘No, I don’t care,’” Beasley said.

A woman with the movie came by Beasley’s house about a week before Mother’s Day to take pictures outside. She called Beasley again shortly after that, asking to take more pictures inside the house.

More time passed, and in June, Beasley was asked if the movie’s director and producer could come and look at her house.

“A week or two after those two came, an entourage came,” Beasley said. “The first part of July, I got another call and they said, ‘Hey, we would like to come and take some measurements of your house.’ They did, and the ball kept rolling.”

On Wednesday, July 19, the crew started setting up the two rooms they were going to use in Beasley’s house for filming.

Two days later, Beasley and her family watched Russell walk up their driveway with other members of the crew.

Beasley said her thought in the moment was, “This is really happening.”

Filming started at about 9 p.m., and for the next few hours, Beasley’s family sat in their side yard with some of the crew members and watched what was happening inside on tablet-like devices.

“It was really cool,” Beasley said of the process, which ended at about 1:30 a.m.

As the crew started packing up, Beasley said they introduced her family to Russell, who agreed to be in a picture with them.

“He adored our dog, Maggie,” Beasley said. “He said we had a nice home, and thank you.”

The family’s interaction with Russell might have been quick compared to the time the crew spent setting up and taking down the props for filming, but Beasley called the whole experience a “highlight.”

“Everyone was very nice and very polite,” she said. “All of it was the most amazing ride I have ever been on. I still look at my yard and think, ‘Really, this was here?’”

Batson said she and other community members were “thrilled” to see a film crew in Calera for multiple reasons.

“What we care about from a Calera Main Street perspective is economic impact, and there is always economic impact when somebody comes from out-of-town,” Batson said. “Buying equipment, eating, buying gas, lodging—all of that is tax revenue that bolsters a small community.”

For Beasley and her family, the opportunity to host a film crew and meet Kurt Russell—the man who cemented “Tombstone” and “Overboard” as two of their favorite movies—was an unexpected honor.

“We were excited just for them to have even considered us,” Beasley said. “We’re still starstruck.”