Screenwriter, director Walker Haynes films scenes in Columbus for upcoming movie

sokamoto@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 19, 2012 

Wow! It’s been a season of young professionals either coming to Columbus visiting their families, working here or calling to let me know what they’re doing.

Most recently, Walker Haynes checked in. He’s an actor, stuntman, screenwriter and director/producer.

He might not be as well known as the others I’ve written about lately.

Walker, 37, spent maybe a year here, visiting family, before moving to Los Angeles in 1998 to pursue acting.

A graduate of Bryan College in Tennessee, it was after graduation that he spent about a year in Columbus, where his mother, Markie Robinson Haynes was living. She’s now moved to Atlanta. His maternal grandparents, Henry “H.B.” and Margaret Robinson, still live here.

Walker was in Columbus last week, shooting part of his movie, “Hamlet’s Ghost,” at the Springer Opera House and Chancellor’s men’s store on Broadway. He said 20 percent of the movie is shot around Columbus.

Besides acting, he also does stunt work, to pay the bills.

What it’s about

“Hamlet’s Ghost” is the second film he’s made. The first, “Gunfight at La Mesa,” has been picked up by Lionsgate and is now available digitally at Netflix and Blockbuster.

“Gunfight” is about a man coming home to find his parents’ killer. His boyhood friend is now the sheriff and he knows who did it, but he’s being hampered by his father, the judge in town.

You can probably figure out how this one goes.

“Hamlet’s Ghost” is way different.

“It’s a time travel, science fiction story,” Walker said.

A Shakespearean actor, named Judge Vaughn, played by Walker, begins to have hallucinations. He goes back into time, into the 1920s, where he hopes to find clues to these ghostly visits.

Is he really time traveling? Or is it just his imagination?

Who knows?

Using local actors

Walker’s cast several Columbus folks like the Springer’s Scooter MacMillan, Ben Reed and Jef Holbrook; Nick Joseph, Sandy Dawson, Sam Beman and Rick Edwards. Sandy and Sam have been seen on the Springer stage as well, but not so recently.

Rick, a local musician, is hoping some of his music will make it on the soundtrack.

Walker also wrote the script, which he said was a six-month endeavor.

“It was in my mind for more than a year,” he said. “I put it to paper last summer.”

He didn’t write it alone, though. He has a writing partner, Cleve Nettles (“Against Time,” “War Monkeys”), “bona fide writer.”

Walker wrote the rough draft and Nettles “beefed it up and made it better.”

He liked filming in the Springer because of “its history and richness in the way it looks.”

In 2001, he spent the summer in London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

“I had to fight to audition for that,” he said. “It continued to feed my interest in Shakespeare and classical theater.”

He’ll finish shooting principal photography on “Hamlet’s Ghost,” then get into an editing suite and finish it for the fall film festivals.

“We’ll see what happens,” he said.

We may have another indie star from Columbus in Walker Haynes.

Sandra Okamoto, sokamoto@ledger-enquirer.com, is an arts writer, 706-571-8580.

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