Silver screen production comes to River Parishes

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 3, 2005


Managing Editor

LAPLACE – For businesses like Airline Motors Restaurant in LaPlace and St. Rose Tavern in St. Rose, it was business as usual. For some local residents, it was a chance for a second or two on the big screen, as a movie production company arrived to shoot “Retirement.”

According to Michael Pietrzak, senior vice-president of production, “Retirement” is “like ‘Grumpy Old Men’ meets a buddy movie.” The film, due for release this fall, will star Peter Falk, Rip Torn, George Segal and Bill Cobbs, as a group of elderly men retired to Miami, who take a cross-country road trip to Las Vegas to stop the wedding of one of the men’s daughter.

“They live like college kids,” Pietrzak commented.

Along the way, a pair of inept armed robbers, played by Mario Cantone and Taylor Negron, experience their own

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ill-starred adventures in the comedy.

St. Rose resident Norbert Clement happened to be at St. Rose Tavern when owner Pat Elfer asked him if he would like to be a film extra, making a non-speaking appearance in the production.

Should his scene be kept, he’s the hunter sitting at the bar, wearing a coonskin cap. His wife, Debbie, likewise, has a similar walk-on part as a customer. “It’s neat!” she observed.

The production moved to Airline Motors on Monday, where Allstate representative Byron Breard had a similar encounter. He was enjoying an afternoon coffee when people with the production showed up, taking photos. They asked him to appear, and he readily accepted. He’s likewise working as a restaurant patron. Both scenes include Negron and Cantone, as they rob the businesses.

Breard also brushed shoulders with Peter Falk and Rip Torn, on hand for the day’s work.

Falk is best known for his long-running role as “Columbo,” as well as roles in films such as “The Princess Bride” and “The Cheap Detective.”

Torn, who began with television appearances on “The Alcoa Hour” in 1956, is best-known today from “Men in Black” and “Airplane II.”

Cobbs, who was a last-minute replacement for Ossie Davis, appeared in “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer” and most recently in “Poolhall Junkies.”

Segal’s film credits include “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” “The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox,” “To Die For” and “The Owl and the Pussycat.” He also enjoyed a long-running role on the television series, “Just Shoot Me!”

Cantone, a standup comedian, has eight apperances to his credit on “Sex in the City” as a wedding planner, and 15 appearances in “The View.”

Negron appeared in “Angels in the Outfield,” “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and, memorably, as the villain Milo in “The Last Boy Scout.”

Both businesses made appearances most recently in “Monster’s Ball,” starring Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton.