Who needs Hollywood when Jake's Corner is only 20 miles from Payson?
The small community, four miles off the Beeline Highway on Highway 188, was the inspiration behind, and will soon be the site of, a movie bearing the community's name.
"Jake's Corner" writer and director Jeff Santo visited the community and was so enraptured that he decided to make it the focus of his newest film.
The fictional movie, which is now in the beginning stages of production, was loosely based on the tragic death of Santo's grandparents, who died en route to see their son and Santo's father, Ron Santo, compete in a Spring Training game with the Chicago Cubs.
The premise of the family-oriented film surrounds a fictional University of Arizona and NFL football star, Johnny Dunn, who ends his football career early, after the death of his parents. His reclusive life is drastically altered when he is forced to care for his 8-year-old nephew, Spence, whose parents are also killed in an accident.
The story revolves as much around Johnny and Spence as it does around the eclectic community of Jake's Corner, made up of a bar, general store and trailers people in the community call home.
While Richard Tyson and Diane Ladd have already been cast in two of the film's major roles, the character of Spence will most likely go to a local.
In addition to Spence, Santo said he is hoping to cast about 90 percent of the movie with Arizona talent.
"I know that Arizona has an incredible number of highly talented actors and we hope to utilize that group as much as possible," Santo said.
Producers are holding auditions and are seeking actors for several regular roles, as well as about 100 extras.
The character of Spence is Caucasian, athletic and an all-American boy. Producers will be looking for a 10- or 11-year-old to fill the role, producer Kevin Heard said.
The roles will be cast by May 6 and filming will take place from May 14 to June 6.
"As an Arizonan, this film holds a special place in my heart because the entire project will be shot here in Arizona," Santo wrote in a press release.
A production office for the film has been set up at 600 E. Highway 260.
To audition, or for more information about the film, contact the production office at (928) 472-4714 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.