Weather Forecast


Six local actors cast in gangster movie

They're still looking for a few good (middle-aged) men.

Gary and Brian Crask have cast six local actors in small speaking roles and 40-plus extras in their gangster movie, but they need more men over 30.

They're hoping local men will be willing to give up Monday night football next week for a chance to not only watch a movie being made, but to appear in it, albeit briefly.

The actors won't be paid, but some of the movie's future profits will come to the Sheldon Theatre in exchange for the local acting community's help setting it all up.

Filming will take place from 6 until about 9 p.m. Monday in the Goodhue County Government Center's old courtroom, which the independent filmmaking duo said is the only vintage-look courtroom they could find near the Twin Cities.

Vintage is essential, because "Spirits of St. Paul" is about the gangster era in the 1930s. The scenes being filmed in Red Wing are of a trial that effectively brings that era to an end, Gary Crask said.

Rather than try to transport a crowd of actors from the Twin Cities for the trial scenes, they decided to fill the courtroom with Red Wing area people.

In addition to the all-male jury and the spectators, the Crasks chose actors who came to auditions this past week to fill some roles in the trial.

Rod Johnson, Cannon Falls auctioneer and voice of the Minnesota Timberwolves, will appear as the trial judge. Jerry Lacroix will play the prosecuting attorney, and Daniel Trost will be the defense attorney.

Jury foreman will be Mark Tesdall, and Marcy Watzl will play the court reporter.

After the trial scenes have been shot, Crask said, a scene will be filmed in the judge's chambers. For that, local actor Brock Nibbe will play a police officer.

The courtroom can hold over 100 people, Crask noted. They have plenty of women actors, but would like more men to come Monday evening. In the 1930s, he pointed out, most of the spectators - as well as all of the jury - would have been men.

Any man who wants to be included must show up at the courthouse by 6 p.m. Monday wearing a dark suit, a non-white shirt and a conservative (no bright colors), wide tie. Suits that are double-breasted or have wide lapels are ideal.

Spectators will be seated, so they don't have to worry about dress pants or skirt lengths, but Crask asked that people not wear jeans.

Initially the Crasks thought to film here in October, but Monday night worked out instead. It's one of the final scenes in the movie, which is the Twin Cities father-son team's first major project.

The trial being filmed is that of Harry Sawyer, a Twin Cities mob boss. "It's the trial that ended the gangster era in St. Paul," Crask said, stressing that the movie is based on a true story.

The actual trial took place in the 1930s at Landmark Center in St. Paul, but that building no longer has a courtroom.