August 15, 2012 - Those who have driven past Oakview Middle School the past couple weeks may have thought they were driving past a war zone.
Oakview Middle School was transformed into ‘Silverton High’ for a tornado film distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. Photo of scene submitted. (click for larger version)
But don't worry - it was just an on sight tornado for an upcoming Hollywood film currently called "The Untitled Tornado Project."
"We've worked with Lake Orion Schools in the past," said Tom Moisides, locations manager for New Line Productions. "They've been easy to work with."
In the film Oakview has been transformed from a middle school into a high school. Moisides said because of the time of the year they were shooting, it was hard to find an actual high school to use, so they had to cheat and find a middle school big enough to look like a high school.
"We were looking for newer schools and a newer community in some respects," he said. "Oakview lent itself well to what we sort of needed from production."
In the film the school will be called "Silverton High." The story is of a single day where the town of Silverton is "ravaged by an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes."
"The entire town is at the mercy of the erratic and deadly cyclones, even as storm trackers predict the worst is yet to come. Most people seek shelter, while others run towards the vortex, testing how far a storm chaser will go for that once-in-a-lifetime shot," according to the press release. "Told through the eyes and lenses of professional storm chasers, thrill-seeking amateurs and courageous townspeople, the film throws you directly into the eye of the storm to experience Mother Nature at her most extreme."
The movie gave a chance for plenty of extras to play high school students and teachers, many of who were Lake Orion residents.
"Personally as a local (resident,) it's great to have support of local community behind the process," Moisides added. "It's fun for the residents."
Even Superintendent of Lake Orion Community Schools Marion Ginopolis considered being an extra until she saw the requirements
"You had to plan on 12 hours days, being sopping wet and blown away by tornadoes," she said with a laugh. "I decided I wasn't interested."
The film is A New Line Cinema Production and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company and stars Richard Armitage ("Captain America: The First Avenger," upcoming "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"), Sarah Wayne Callies (TV's "The Walking Dead"), Matt Walsh ("Ted"), Nathan Kress (TV's "iCarly"), Arlen Escarpeta ("Final Destination 5"), Jon Reep ("Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay") and Jeremy Sumpter ("Soul Surfer," TV's "Friday Night Lights").
Steven Quale ("Final Destination 5") is directing the film from a screenplay by John Swetnam. The film is produced by Todd Garner (upcoming "Here Comes The Boom" and "Knight and Day." The executive producers are Dave Neustadter and Walter Hamada.
A few other locations around Michigan where the film was shot in-clude Auburn Hills, Detroit, Pontiac, Armada and Washington.
Ginopolis said she was sad George Clooney wasn't the star, but allowing the film to be shot at the school was a "no-brainer."
"It's revenue enhancement for one thing," she said. "They are very cooperative as far as using our facility and we are cooperating with them. Our food service department has been providing the meals, so that's another revenue enhancement for the district."
Ginopolis who has been on sight a couple times, said she was amazed how the movie was put together, but a wake up call as well after seeing what destruction can be caused from a tornado. .
"It's really kind of frightening because these things can happen," she said. "But I'm excited to see the movie in its entirety."
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.