AMHERST — A comedy starring a member of the CBS-TV sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” is set to begin filming in Amherst the summer.
The film, “The Bronze,” is set to star Melissa Rauch, who portrays the petite but buxom, squeaky-voiced blond Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz on the long-running hit CBS comedy series.
Rauch and her husband, Winston Rauch, wrote the comedy, said Steve Campanella of Belltower Productions, a Cleveland-based production company working with Precious Metals, the major company behind “The Bronze.”
Belltower’s credits include the TV film “Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio” airing on the Up Network, and “Underdogs,” a 2013 story shot in the North Canton area of a small, rural Ohio high school football team playing a powerful cross-town rival.
“The Bronze” will mark the feature film directorial debut of Bryan Buckley, a veteran of more than 40 Super Bowl TV commercials since 1999.
“He’s considered the Super Bowl champ in terms of commercials,” Campanella said. “He’s a big-brand commercial director.”
Buckley’s talents and accolades, including five Emmy nods, led to his being named Commercial Director of the Decade in a 2010 Adweek readers poll.
Some of his best-known Super Bowl TV spots include a Fed-Ex ad spoofing the movie Tom Hanks movie “Castaway,” a Go-Daddy ad in which a voluptuous woman nearly loses her top during testimony before Congress, and a TurboTax “love hurts” ad in which a frustrated fan laments the fact his team, and girl, are not part of his Super Bowl experience.
The Turbo Tax ad ranked among the top 10 by Adweek.
Buckley’s other credits include an Oscar nomination in 2013 for his live-action short titled “The Asad,” which told the story of a young Somali refugee whose boat trip to find fish off the African coast turns far more serious when the boat is intercepted by pirates.
Negotiations continue with four other actors who may end up in principal parts, Campanella said. Because those talks are ongoing, Campanella declined to identify any of the four actors under consideration.
The state’s tax credit for filmmakers was a big factor in the decision to shoot the comedy in Ohio, Campanella said. “That’s one of the big reasons we came to Ohio,” he said.
Known as the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Incentive, the mechanism provides qualifying film companies with a refundable tax credit of 25 to 35 percent for productions shot in Ohio.
Campanella said the film’s producers hope to cast 80 to 85 of the film’s working personnel from the region and across Ohio.
“We want to hire as many Ohioans as we can for the rest of the cast and remaining crew,” he said.
When Buckley was looking for filming locations, it was determined that Amherst “fit the bill for the storyline,” Campanella said.
The filmmakers met with local officials at an Amherst Main Street meeting Thursday, said Mayor David Taylor.
That session followed an earlier one between the film company and Amherst city officials, police and utilities departments to discuss the logistics of filming, which is anticipated to last about a month, Taylor said.
“We’ll have to hold another meeting to finalize things” such as temporary street closings for filming, which is expected to take place in downtown Amherst, and in several residential neighborhoods.
“This is the first time Amherst has ever had something of this magnitude,” Taylor said. “We’re very excited about it.”
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.