Wilson movie shot in Woodbury with students as extras

Woody+Harrelson+is+spotted+strolling+on+the+streets+of+Woodbury+near+the+shooting+location.

Glenn Baron

Woody Harrelson is spotted strolling on the streets of Woodbury near the shooting location.

Lucas Johnson, Sports Editor

The quiet suburb of Woodbury goes about its business on a breezy July afternoon. Families walk their dogs, a group of teens bikes by on their way to the baseball diamond, Hollywood star Woody Harrelson walks calmly through a park, and a couple enjoys a picnic in the sun. Wait a second. Woody Harrelson is in Minnesota? Wait scratch that – Woodbury?

Harrelson, among other Hollywood names, was here this summer filming Wilson. The movie is an adaptation of a graphic novel initially written by Daniel Clowes. The story follows a middle aged and divorced Wilson who reunites with his estranged wife only to discover that he has a teenage daughter.

There was one point between takes when the crew was moving the camera angle when Woody Harrelson started to pass a soccer ball back and forth with his personal assistant and it came over to a group of extras so he invited us to come play with him which was pretty cool.”

— Maya Shrestha

Clowes’ other graphic novels have made the leap from print to film with his work Ghost World recently made into a comedy film featuring Scarlett Johansson.

Not only was this a local film in terms of location, but also in terms of talent; sophomore Maya Shrestha was cast as an extra when the movie was filmed down the street at Cretin Derham Hall.

“I actually found a notice online that said they wanted teenage extras for the movie so I went in and filled out some information and they took a picture of me. A couple weeks later I got an email saying that I was going to be an extra that gave me some information about the shoot,” said Shrestha.

Now most of us common folk would not think of a Hollywood set as being a place where the stars are interactive extras, but this was not the case on the set of Wilson.

Claims Shrestha, “There was one point between takes when the crew was moving the camera angle when Woody Harrelson started to pass a soccer ball back and forth with his personal assistant and it came over to a group of extras so he invited us to come play with him which was pretty cool.”

But that’s not where the friendliness stopped.

“After the shoot was over the extras were together eating and talking and Isabella Amara, who is playing Woody Harrelson’s daughter, came down and introduced herself to us and talked which was really cool because she was the same age as a lot of us,” said Shrestha.

In addition to being an excellent opportunity for people to get involved in a high-profile Hollywood film, the fact that the movie was filmed entirely in Minnesota will be a big test for the state’s film industry.

According to WCCO news, the producers are “giving a thumbs-up to the locations and the local talent they’ve found,” which is great news for the future of Minnesota as a filming destination.

This is the first time a prime time movie has been filmed here since the Coen Brothers filmed A Serious Man in the Twin Cities back in 2009. Wilson is set to hit theaters in 2016 and Minnesota movie-makers everywhere hope the film is a success that will categorize Minnesota as a prime location for filming.