By JAMIE PARSELL
Princeton native Jordan Farley can’t give away any plot details in the upcoming thriller “Hollow Creek.” However, she can talk about her first role as a stunt double for the lead actress.
“In my stunt, I got attacked by a dog in the woods. The dog was a trained police dog and I’ve grown up around lots of dogs so I wasn’t too nervous,” Farley said. “I actually thought it was a really unique and exciting experience and would do it again in a heartbeat.”
The film, shot in Ritchie and Wyoming counties in West Virginia during January, is slated for release later this year.
Besides working as a stunt double, Farley, a 20-year-old college student, ran errands, painted sets, played an extra in a scene and even took lunch orders from the crew. She did a bit of everything.
“When I arrived on set, I was planning on just watching and doing my best to stay out of the way, but when actress, producer and director Guisela Moro found out I was interested in that line of work, she was kind enough to let me get involved. I really just did anything I was asked to,” Farley said.
However, her involvement in the film goes back a few years. According to her mother Joni Farley, an important part of the story is Jordan’s grandparents, Pat and Laura McKinney, who raise the dog breed Newfoundlands in Pineville.
“They have customers all over the country. The director, who is from Florida, bought a dog from them four or five years ago and fell in love with the area when she visited. She knew it would make the perfect setting for the film,” Joni said.
The McKinneys introduced Farley, a media communications major at Drexel University, to Moro when she returned to West Virginia to begin filming “Hollow Creek.”
Farley was intimidated at first.
“It wasn’t that they were purposefully intimidating in anyway. They were just very talented people and I felt like I was in their way at the beginning. They were very welcoming and friendly though. And in the end, I made some lovely friends,” she said.
She said the set was fast-paced and she had to be “quick on her feet.” She learned a lot on location, lessons she hopes to use in a future career.
“You have to be very flexible; schedules and plans change almost daily so you have to be able to change with them. Communication is key,” Farley said. “The production process involves many people all working towards one goal, so its vital that everyone is on the same page.”
Newfoundland Films website gives a brief plot description for the film.
It states, “Seeking inspiration for his latest horror novel, a New York writer retreats to a remote cabin in the Appalachian mountains accompanied by his secret lover. A twist of fate turns the romantic interlude into an abduction murder case when the writer’s lover mysteriously goes missing and he becomes the prime suspect.”
Farley said the film is filled with suspense. The set design for many scenes were eerie and added to the thrill factor. Director and actress Guisela Moro calls the film a “Stephen King-style thriller.”
Moro took time to answer a few questions about the film. She is holding back one surprise, an announcement regarding a legendary actor who will also appear in the film.
“This has brought the project to a new level,” she said.
She hopes to disclose more information soon and return to the Pineville area. Moro said the landscape is always beautiful, but the small coal towns dotted across southern West Virginia is what really inspired the movie.
“When I first drove through Mullens four years ago, I felt l was traveling in time. It was so cool and unique. Every little town I drove by, I had the same feeling .. I fell in love with them,” Moro said.
Farley, a West Virginia native, can appreciate Moro’s sentiments about her home state. She grew up in southern West Virginia, but left when she was 8 years old.
“The majority of my family lives in southern West Virginia,” Farley added. “It continues to be my favorite place to visit.”
She has grandparents in Pineville, Princeton and Pipestem.
Farley said West Virginia was an ideal location for “Hollow Creek.”
“I think there is a certain mystery to mountains that creates the perfect setting for a scary movie. But at the same time, they are also beyond beautiful, so whether someone is running through the woods, driving down a mountain road, or simply looking out a window, the natural beauty of West Virginia is always breathtaking,” Farley said.
Farley and her family live in Manheim, Penn. After 14 years, Jordan finally became the owner of a Newfoundland. She named her Berklee Bee. The dog will weigh anywhere from 120-150 pounds.
Moro’s Newfie Brandy is featured in the film.
“She is a huge part of the film from the very first scene to the end. She did phenomenal. It was meant to be,” Moro said. “They are such sweet dogs. They are very mellow and they love water. They are water rescue dogs.”
Moro was worried how Brandy would react to the crew, cameras and extra. But the Newfie adapted well. Moro even named her film company after the breed.
“When I met Laura, Jordan’s grandmother, for the first time I said, ‘Hi ... I want to shoot a movie here one day. I will come back.’ And we did.”
Moro said Jordan was a trooper on set.
“Her disposition was fantastic,” she said. “She is a very smart girl and everybody on board really liked her and embraced her. She was very humble about it.”