The stars make their way into DeKalb County

By Brian Belford

DeKalb | If you thought you saw Hollywood actors walking around this week, you might not be as crazy as you think.

Debbie Armstrong, executive director of the DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau, located at 164 E. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb, said parts of the movie, titled the “Untitled Ramin Bahrani Project,” have begun production in DeKalb County. The movie will star actors Zac Efron and Dennis Quaid and is about a farmer whose plans to expand his farm cause problems within his family.

The county was previously chosen as the place to film by the director, Iranian-American filmmaker Ramin Bahrani, who was called the filmmaker of the decade by Chicago-based movie critic Roger Ebert in a 2009 Chicago Sun-Times article.

Armstrong said the bureau has been involved in the film since early spring, after they landed the deal.

“We showed them all over the county,” Armstrong said. “They came to us and gave us scenarios. They said they needed corn, [and] they needed a farm. We tried to match up what was in the county with the script and point them in the right direction.”

Armstrong also mentioned that the director and his crew looked at Iowa as well, but ended up choosing DeKalb County.

“We did a lot of research in finding where to film in Illinois,” said Killer Films Producer Pamela Koffler. “We had a specific vision for what the community should look like. The county was perfect and creatively appropriate for what we had in mind.”

Killer Films is one of five production and film companies backing the movie and is the main production company behind the financing of the project, according to

Both Koffler and Armstrong said they could not to give out details about the movie, nor the filming locations, as the movie was not a studio production, had a limited time line and did not have the budget for crowd control.

However, it was confirmed that Efron, known for his role in High School Musical, walked into a Sycamore Walgreens, located at 1340 DeKalb Ave., by management and employees on July 11.

Koffler said the location will be given out in time.

“Right now they haven’t started yet and we want to avoid unwanted attention, but I’m sure there will be a community outreach for scenes in the movie where they will be needing extras,” Koffler said.

The movie has also asked local businesses to donate suitable clothing for actors in the film. Clothing can be donated everyday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, located at 164 E. Lincoln Highway.

Jim Allen, executive director of the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce, said there has been a lot of traffic already.

“They’ve been coming in a steady stream,” Allen said.

Publicists for Efron and Quaid both declined to comment, saying they would be available for interviews when the movie comes out. Koffler said she doesn’t know when the film will be released, but that making the movie will take about a year.