Lights, Camera, Lexington
Wrigley brings Hollywood to the bluegrass
BY KRISTINA ROSEN
If you think you saw a drone flying over downtown Versailles, or a woman who looks a lot like Drew Barrymore jumping off a hay bale into a pile of cow poop, you saw correctly. The last of the filming for Barrymore’s latest movie The Stand-In happened in downtown Lexington and Versailles late last month.
Barrymore plays a comedy actress who trades places with her stand-in. The stand-in eventually takes over the actress’s identity, career, and boyfriend, leaving Barrymore’s character to fend for herself for the first time.
Among the executive producer roster is Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen-Fallon of Flower Films. The two are teaming up with award winning executive producer and director, Jamie Babbit. (Fans of HBO’s Silicon Valley, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Gilmore Girls, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, and Girls will recognize the name.)
In Lexington, filming centered around the old courthouse, First United Methodist Church, Gratz Park, and along Main Street. Downtown Lexington transformed as cars were given New York license plates and cast extras were told to act like rude New Yorkers. Barrymore was spotted in costume running down the steps of the old courthouse.
Central Kentucky production then wrapped up in Versailles. The final shot filmed was coincidentally the closing scene of the movie: a small-town storefront. In this case, the main street of Versailles and The Amsden, an old bank building turned local coffee shop. In a few short days, all the filming in Kentucky was done and the movie was ready to begin editing.
Ross Babbit, who is head of this project for Wrigley Media, has already seen how this movie has impacted the city with the enthusiasm and attention it received from shooting in downtown Lexington.
“It opens eyes to what can be done here. From a creative standpoint, it makes sense. Filmmakers are always looking for different types of architecture and towns that haven’t been overshot. From a business perspective, it creates jobs and has an economic impact to the city.”
Award winning director and producer, Jamie Babbit, reached out to her brother Ross a few months ago during development in pre-production of The Stand-In when part of the story included shooting in a small town. Ross and Jamie have always wanted to do a project together and Jamie had visions of what the scenes would be. Lexington happened to be a perfect fit.
Ross talked with his bosses, Misdee Wrigley-Miller and Jayne Hancock when the decision was made. Wrigley Media would be full production partners with The Stand-In.
“Everything is about connections and that’s what this was about,” says Misdee Wrigley-Miller, owner of Wrigley Media Group. “I’m so proud of the team we’ve assembled at Wrigley Media Group and that the studio can handle this type of production.”
“Lexington is a wonderful place,” says Jamie Babbit. “The beautiful architecture…The only downside is the tax credit. If there was a tax credit we would’ve shot the whole movie here.”
You might or might not know the name, but if you’ve ever sat through a big corporate presentation or chamber luncheon in Lexington, you’re probably familiar with the video work of Wrigley Media Group.
The Lexington-based media company located off Newtown Pike is one of Lexington’s hidden treasures.
From Wrigley Media, Ross Babbit and Danny Tepper head The Stand In project.
“It’s like we’re showing producers a postcard for Lexington and Kentucky,” says Jayne Hancock, CEO of Wrigley Media Group. “We’re working hard to bring more production here, especially movies and television series.”
Twenty five members of the Wrigley team will be assisting with the movie, but the company released a casting call for extras to be featured in scenes.
A collaborative work space housed inside a nondescript building, Wrigley Media Group is populated by energy, enthusiasm, and razor scooters.
“I want people to be excited on Sunday night to come into work the next day and do what needs to be done,” says Hancock.
Three years ago, Wrigley Media Group found a new home on Newtown Circle.
With the new space comes new opportunities and new clients. The company now has the largest independently owned sound stage in the region. They’ve grown from 12 to 34 employees with plans to continue growth.
“We’re never going to deviate from what we do. We have an amazing owner, Misdee Wrigley Miller, who supports us. We’re passionate about production and integrity in how we act and what we produce.”
Wrigley Media focuses primarily on original content and client work, including television, film, mass consumption, and more. From creating the content to distributing it, the company takes projects from start to finish.
The only spoiler we are able to reveal is that while the brand is working hard with Barrymore’s film, they have more notable projects underway and many surprises to come.
“This opportunity with The Stand-In brings so much for the Bluegrass. Whatever we can bring here, we will do it.”
This article also appears on page 6 of the March 2019 printed edition of Ace.
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