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J.J. Abrams/Spielberg movie being filmed in Weirton

August 30, 2010
By Tony Rutherford

Has West Virginia landed a location shoot of a movie with a filmmaker pedigree that potentially deserves both an “awesome” and “well done” for the West Virginia film office?

The Internet Movie Data Base, Production Weekly, the Associated Press (among others) have confirmed that the “Wickham” and/or “Darlings” film scheduled for shooting in Weirton in September/October is actually J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8,” produced by Steven Spielberg.

When attempting to research a little background on “Wickham,” which is the title of the “officially” released title of the film scheduled to shoot for about six weeks this fall in the steel town of Weirton, two additional titles have been associated with this fall and Weirton. The first is “Darlings” (a potential remake of “Little Darlings”) and “Super 8.” It’s inconceivable that more than one Paramount production would shoot in Weirton at the same time, so a few blogs have asserted that “Wickham” might be a false title.

A search of the Internet Movie Data Base apparently confirms the suspicions/rumors: It states that J.J.Abrams will be writing and directing an Amblin Entertainment production produced by Speilberg, which will be shot in Weirton. Abrams also has produced numerous “Lost” episodes and the monster thriller, “Cloverfield.”

A Weirton resident has confirmed that writer/director J. J. Abrams (known for “Star Trek,” “Lost,” and “Mission Impossible”) has been seen in the steel town, too.

The story remains secretive although “aliens” have been mentioned as among the characters. Someone even suggested it’s about some alien teens making a movie on Earth. 

An ad appeared in a Weirton newspaper that stated the movie revolves around a train crash that brings a town together. (A train is involved in a trailer for “Super 8” shown at the opening of “Iron Man II.”

There has been speculation that this secret project is a sequel to Abrams’ 2008 “Cloverfield,” but he has shot down those rumors. Abrams told New York magazine’s Vulture blog, “You have to check out [the trailer] ... but it has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘Cloverfield’ ... I won’t be able to tell you [what the movie is about] until it’s done.”

However, one report says that the film is inspired by some of Abram’s favorite films grown up including those of Spielberg.

The trailer hints that there is an alien element to it saying, “In 1979, the U.S. Air Force closed a section of Area 51. All the materials were to be a transported to a secure facility in Ohio.” “Super 8” is due out in theaters in the summer of 2011.

This past weekend Paramount in L.A. issued an open call for teens with a Midwestern appeal. The auditions at the studio were:


No previous acting experience is necessary, but must have a great energy and a wonderful sense of humor.

JOSH: Male 13-14. Josh is cute, but could be on the scrawny side — definitely not the school jock. Loveable, empathetic, smart and interesting. Must have a great sense of humor. Should have a Midwestern feel.

COLLIN: Male 13-14. Slightly, or more than slightly, overweight. Collin is confident, driven, optimistic and a natural leader. Must have a great sense of humor. Should have a Midwestern feel.

NATALIE: Female 13-14. A natural beauty — she is stunning, but not the “cheerleader” type. Strong and confident, but has an underlying sadness. Should have a Midwestern feel.

Rumored producers are Abrams and his partner at Bad Robot, Bryan Burk. Spielberg is producing via Amblin entertainment.

Production budget is between $45 million and $50 million, according to the various reports.



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