OGDEN — Union Station was home to filming crews for the Mormon musical “Saturday’s Warrior” over the past week.
Union Station executive director Elizabeth Sutton said the station was approached a few months ago about “Saturday’s Warrior” filming. Filming started Friday, Sept. 11, and ended Wednesday, Sept. 16.
The station has had some pretty bad experiences with film crews recently, Sutton said, and didn’t want to allow filming anymore. However, “Saturday’s Warrior” convinced the station by agreeing to some restrictions.
“We put out some pretty strict restrictions on them and I must say, they’ve been pretty fantastic...they really respect the building which is of course a historical landmark and we really appreciate them,” Sutton said.
There was a problem with the last people who came to film in the station — for ABC's “Blood and Oil,” said board member and volunteer archivist Charles Trentelman.
“Blood and Oil” had contracted with Union Station, with one of the restrictions being to not touch the trains in the museum. Crew put tape on one of the engines, which ripped paint off, Trentelman said.
Sutton, who grew up in Los Angeles and had many bad experiences with film crews, said the station wants to help out with filming projects because it helps increase tourism, but needs to protect the station’s history.
“We have to balance our preservation mission and doing what's right with the community and filming, which is inherently destructive,” she said.
However, people in Utah who are in the film industry are the ones who are fantastic, Sutton said.
“It's a musical so it’s been very noisy but we’ve found a way to accommodate that and we’ve all found ways to work around each other and it’s been good,” Sutton said.
Allowing the filming is also helping the station.
“We're happy to have them down there because we need the money for the rental,” Trentelman said.
Trentelman said some of the filming has been taking place in the Myra Powell Gallery and the Browning Theater. It is rumored that the Myra Powell Gallery is where the “waiting room to heaven” scenes have been filmed.
For Trentelman, being around for some of the filming has been interesting, he said.
“It’s always interesting — you get to see how much work gets involved even in the most mundane of scenes, and I’m not sure if those scenes were mundane or not but … there was a lot of people stacked up to watch just one or two people acting,” Trentelman said.
Union Station and its museums have not been closed during filming, and even Governor Gary Herbert stopped by on Friday, Sept. 11 to see the hustle and bustle.
“It’s been fun for the museum visitors — it helps them realize that people do like to use our locations (and) what it looks like when you have to be held at a higher accountability with our museum,” Sutton said.
“Saturday’s Warrior” is a musical written by Douglas Stewart and Executive Producer Lex de Azevedo based on the idea that we existed before this life. The live stage production began showing in 1974, and a staged film version came out in 1989. This “reboot” will be the first full-length feature film version and is said to be for the next generation of Mormons.
It will be set in 1970s San Francisco and features the talents of social media sensation Kenny Holland in the lead role of Jimmy Flinders, and Mormon Tabernacle choir member and YouTube star Alex Boye as the heavenly guide. Mason Davis plays Tod Richards, with Monica Smith as Julie Flinders. Michael Buster, known for “17 Miracles,” “God’s Army” and “Saints and Soldiers,” is directing. “High School Musical” choreographer Bonnie Story is doing the choreography.
The movie is set to release in summer of 2016.