Season premiere of 'West Wing' is coming to Lawrence County
Hundreds of extras are needed for the filming Aug. 23 and 24.
By LAURE CIOFFI
VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU
VOLANT, Pa. -- A little bit of Hollywood is coming to this tiny town.
"The West Wing," NBC's Emmy-winning drama, will shoot part of its season premiere later this month just outside of Volant in Washington Township, Lawrence County.
This rural village, known locally for its shopping, will be a campaign stop for President Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and several "West Wing" cast members, said Nancy Mosser, local casting director for the production.
A soybean farm will double for one in Indiana where the president will speak about alternative energy sources. Allison Janney, who plays press secretary C.J. Cregg, will be there too, she said.
Communications director Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff), deputy chief of staff Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) and Lyman's assistant Donna Moss (Janel Moloney) get left behind and spend a good part of the episode trying to catch up to the president.
"It sort of focuses on them on the road. It's a whole different atmosphere from the White House where we normally see them. The script is funny," Mosser said.
They will make stops at a diner, a remote gas station, a train station and country roads, she said.
At least 300 extras will be needed to serve as audience members at Bartlet's speech, deputy sheriffs, reporters, photographers and Secret Service agents, Mosser noted. Some extras may be chosen to be doubles for the actors.
An open casting call is planned for Saturday in Orr Auditorium at Westminster College.
The production is a first for Lawrence County but one of several for western Pennsylvania. The last major production in the area was the 2001 film "The Mothman Prophecies," starring Richard Gere and filmed in Kittanning.
Mosser said they hope to find local people to serve as extras. They will be needed for full days of shooting for one or two days. They will be working in Washington Township on Aug. 23 and 24, she said.
The entire production will be in Pittsburgh from Aug. 20-27.
"Nobody needs experience at all. Just regular folks of all ages up to older people. They just have to be able to work a good long day. We will shoot from dawn to dusk," she said. Mosser said few children are needed and most extras must be 18 or older.
Joann McBride, Lawrence County's Tourist Promotion Agency director, said her office has been working on getting a film crew here for years. The office was contacted in June by the Pittsburgh Film Office, which was searching for rural locations.