Published: Aug 08, 2006 01:44 PM
Modified: Aug 08, 2006 01:44 PM
This souvenir has a wet nose
Most film crewmembers leave the wrap party with a hat, T-shirt or coffee mug.Sally Holton returned to Chapel Hill after almost three months as studio teacher on the Will Farrell movie "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" with a Hoodoo. The movie was shot mostly in Charlotte, where Holton lived during filming. When she learned the city was getting Hurricane Katrina evacuees, she decided to volunteer when the two child actors she was teaching were not needed on the set. Turns out, the only evacuees were of the four-legged variety. "They brought in busloads of traumatized dogs and cats," Holton said. After reading about Ya Ya, a Lab-shepherd-mix (who apparently had gotten friendly with a Weimaraner), Holton volunteered to take one of the dog's 10 pups. She visited them frequently in their foster home while she worked in Charlotte, doing the kind of work she hopes to do again. Holton, daughter of Bill and Bitty Holton, graduated from Chapel Hill High in 1986 and, after college, taught drama at Orange High until going to work for PlayMakers Repertory Company. She later took courses at Piedmont Community College in Yanceyville and, while working on a film in Greensboro last year, learned how to be a studio teacher.Learning the Screen Actor's Guild rules for children, and teaching her charges, ages 7 and 12, turned out to be the easiest part of the gig. "The mothers were on the set as well, and I had to keep them out of the way and happy," Holton said. "An unhappy mom equals an unhappy child and bad work conditions." In the movie, Farrell plays Ricky Bobby, a country boy who finds his way to fame through racing. Filming took place at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte and Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. "A charter jet flew the whole cast and crew to Birmingham," Holton said. "We filmed at Talladega while racing was going on. It was wide-open wild -- like Mardi Gras, throwing beads to women ... it's a huge throw-down party for a week." In her free time visiting the puppies, Holton could not pick a favorite and agreed to take the last one left. It turned out to be a chocolate-colored pup who'd gotten a little too much love from her siblings."Her hair was thinning from the other pups licking it off, she said. "She was bald-headed with blue eyes." Holton brought Hoodoo home to Chapel Hill. Last week she returned to Charlotte for a special screening for locals involved with the filming. She was disappointed there were no posters or other souvenirs. But, she's got her memories, her dog and a new fondness for Charlotte."The locals of Charlotte lined up and behaved themselves and welcomed the entire film crew even with streets closed for blocks," she said. "Not only was it a fun and rewarding experience, but it turned out to be a great summer movie -- filmed in the South."
Contact Valarie Schwartz at 932-2000 or email@example.com.
By Valarie Schwartz