Filming in Big Horn County is expected to begin soon for a storm chaser action movie called "Supercell." The movie has a cast including actor Alec Baldwin.
Preparation for filming is ongoing and one of the producers, Nathan Klingher, said Monday he expects people working on the movie, some of whom are already on the ground in Billings and elsewhere, to be in Montana for about a month.
"Supercell," tells the story of a teenager whose legendary storm-chasing father was killed by a super tornado and now finds himself working for Baldwin's character leading a group of "unsuspecting adventurers deep into the eye of the most dangerous supercell ever seen," according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Baldwin will be portraying a character called Zane Rogers. As The Hollywood Reporter described the role, Rogers is a greedy and reckless man who runs a storm-chasing tourism business built on the legacy of the teenager's father. Short Porch Pictures is the production company behind the movie.
"I think the film is going to be really interesting because it is kind of a throwback to the kind of movies you saw in the New Hollywood-era 80s, where it's very practical and kind of special effects driven, versus VFX," Klingher said.
Visual effects, or VFX, includes things like computer-generated imagery and transferring motion-capture recording of an actor's movements onto 3D models. Special effects generally refers to things like explosions or fake rain that are physically present in the filming.
Klingher, citing "Twister" as an example, said there really aren't that many tornado-specific disaster movies out there.
"So it's kind of a unique one in that space," he said.
Last week people working on the film were continuing to look for extras to fill a variety of roles and were also looking for people with vehicles that look suited for storm chasing.
The Montana Film Office also put out a casting call on social media from "Supercell" producers for "an Asian male around 20 years old for a key background/extra role."
People interested were asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In explaining the decision to film in Montana, Klingher cited the beautiful plains look and the state's film tax credit program.
"Montana in general is this big, beautiful state, right? Beautiful scenery, lots of interesting towns, lots of landscapes. We're the size of Germany, we have a small population," Montana Film Office Commissioner Allison Whitmer said. "So there's a lot of interesting aspects to Montana that producers find very attractive and the incentive program adds a layer of financial incentives."
Whitmer said the state has between 80 and 117 film productions a year. Included in those numbers are movies, television, documentaries, TV shows, music videos and commercials.
A report commissioned by the film office and published last summer concluded that production of films, TV shows and commercials contributed $47.6 million to Montana's economy from January 2019 to June 2020.