Entertainment

Springer Academy student receives major role in action-thriller starring Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis movie coming, millions expected locally

A movie starring Bruce Willis is going to be filmed in Muscogee County and the surrounding area. Peter F. Bowden the local economic impact will be in the millions. “The Long Night” will be the first project supported by the Columbus Film Fund.
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A movie starring Bruce Willis is going to be filmed in Muscogee County and the surrounding area. Peter F. Bowden the local economic impact will be in the millions. “The Long Night” will be the first project supported by the Columbus Film Fund.

A Springer Theater Academy student has been cast in a major role opposite movie star Bruce Willis.

According to a press release from Springer Opera House, Riley Wolfe Rach, 13, has been cast to play Willis’ granddaughter in the film “The Long Night,” currently filming in Columbus. Her role will be central to the action of the story, including several scenes with Willis.

“This is so exciting for me,” Riley said in the release. “It’s a lot of fun but it’s also a lot of hard work and long hours. Everyone has been so nice.”

The film was announced in early May and shooting began this month. The full-length film is an action thriller about two criminals who break into a disgraced doctor’s home to be given medical attention after one of them is shot during a robbery gone wrong, according to the release. The film’s director, Matt Eskandari, found Riley while assembling the final pieces to shoot the film.

Riley has been a student in the Springer Theater Academy for three years and is studying “Acting for the Camera” this summer in the Springer’s new film studio. She is also a student as Rainey-McCuller’s School of the Arts.

Riley’s teacher, Sara Lynn Holbrook, is a Springer Film Institute director and has been hired as Child Labor Coordinator for the film.

The Springer Film Institute (SFI) was founded last year “to help cultivate indigenous film culture in Columbus,” the release states. The institute teaches courses in film acting, cinematography, editing, screenwriting, voice-over and animation as well as produces short films, web series and documentaries.

Riley Wolfe Rach 2
Thirteen-year-old Riley Wolfe Rach was recently cast to play a major role in Bruce Willis’ new film “The Longest Night,” which is currently being filmed in Columbus. She poses with Springer Film Institute director Sara Lynn Holbrook. Courtesy Springer Opera House

SFI producer Jef Holbrook said that his team recommended many local professionals and Springer students to Eskandari for him to consider, and called the director a “joy to work with.”

“(Eskandari) attended an entire day of Springer Theater Academy last week and even participated in the end-of-day ritual called ‘Salutations.’ He observed theatre and film classes and got a chance to witness Riley Wolfe Rach in action. After that, he made his final casting decision on her,” Holbrook said in the release.

Shooting for the film will be done primarily in Columbus and the budget for the film will be around $8 million. Producers on the film are Randall Emmett and George Furla for Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films. Members of the city’s film commission will also serve as executive producers.

“The Long Night” is the first project supported by the Columbus Film Fund, a public-private partnership that uses private funds to incentivize film and TV productions to come to Columbus.

The fund is administered by the Columbus Film Commission.

“SFI is eager to support all of the organizations that are working so hard to build Columbus’ film industry,” Holbrook said. “We have some amazing resources here and there’s no reason Columbus cannot be a major player in the state’s drive to be a world-class destination for film making.”

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