Academy-award nominated actor in Placer film
Lights, cameras and action were taking place in Auburn last week as film crews came to the Auburn Ravine Terrace to shoot “The Talking Tree.”
The film is directed by Roseville resident Ricky Borba, his debut in the directing world. The crew and producers are from the Los Angeles company DTLA Entrant Group.
Why Placer County and not Hollywood? Borba chose the foothills because he loves the look of Auburn and its Americana style, he said. He discovered the area on his way to visit his dad who lives in Reno.
The synopsis of the plot, according to Producer Charles Lago, is a son takes his aging mother, played by Oscar nominee Sally Kirkland, to the doctor and learns she has terminal cancer. The prescription drugs are too expensive, so he decides to rob a bank, gets caught and is sent to prison. There he makes some friends: a guard, played by Doug Hutchison (“The Green Mile”), and a fellow inmate, played by Robert LaSardo (“Nip and Tuck”).
The son learns from his new companions “hope, faith and hang-in-theres,” Lago said. After his release from prison, he visits his mother whose cancer has advanced and is on hospice.
As sad as it all may sound, Lago assured that the movie has a happy ending, with characters falling in love and getting married.
The scenes of the mother in the hospital were being filmed at the Auburn care home on Friday. Crews were then headed to Roseville’s City Hall to film more for the movie.
The Talking Tree is also a character of sorts in the movie. As cancer spreads in the mother, she has conversations with a Christmas tree and finds a measure of comfort.
“It’s the kind of movie where you turn off the TV and you ask the kids what (was the lesson),” Lago said.
Co-Producer Wendy Benge was also on the set Friday.
“It is quite a blessing to work on a film that inspires us,” Benge said.
The film does not yet have a network to be released on but it will be made first, then producers are confident it will be snatched up by the Hallmark Channel, Netflix or another chosen outlet.
“Most films are beggars,” Borba said, “we are the choosers. … We’re going to turn some heads.”
Eight main actors and about 75 crew and cast members stayed in Auburn and Roseville for the filming.
“They love it up here,” Borba said.
The film is slated to be released around Christmas 2019.