Last week V stumbled across a film crew near La Merced in Antigua, making what we have since learned is the first full-length feature to be shot entirely in Guatemala since Green Jade back in 1935.
Looking for Palladin is an indie movie with a budget of less than $1m conceived by writer-director Andrzej Krakowski. It tells the story of a young man called Josh Ross, who comes to Guatemala to find a retired old Oscar-winner called Jack Palladin, played by Ben Gazzara (pictured). Talia Shire (of Rocky and Godfather fame) is also on the cast list, which includes Mexican thesps Pedro Armendaris Jr., Angélica Aragón y Michelle Manterola, and the Guatemalan comedians Jimmy y Samuel Morales. They will do most of the location shooting in Antigua with some additional scenes set in the capital, including Aurora international aiport. (They will need to be quick as the departure lounge was being demolished around V when she passed through last week and consequently she was able to drive some hard bargains in the temporarily doomed retail units!) Filming is set to wrap at the end of this month.
While I was over there myself in June I watched Adventure Girl starring Joan Lowell..."as herself". Made in '34 with grateful assistance from then dictator Jorge Ubico, this B movie (recommended to me by Scott) charts the adventures of a young American girl who reaches Antigua via the Rio Dulce and there declares the ruins of the cathedral to be an ancient Maya temple. For the sacrilege of trying to make off with an idol she finds buried there she is sentenced to death by churrasco, but escapes the crowds of Indians (who are too busy dancing around in masks and playing their marimbas) by running through what looks like the arch at Chichicastenango. All good fun, if somewhat geographically and politically incorrect.