A horror film set in Syracuse was forced to suspend production midway through several issues, including injury to an actor and crew members who left due to a wage dispute.
“The Hermit” starring former “The Incredible Hulk” actor and bodybuilder Le Verignon, in mid-August on a farm in southern Onondaga. Ferrigno plays a murderous cannibal pig farmer who cooks people and makes them jerky.
Excitement was high at first. Ferrigno was named Syracuse Honorary Police Officer While in town this was his first major role since receiving cochlear implants last year. Local crew members were also looking forward to the project, which is the latest in a Film industry booming which has seen more than 30 movies shot in central New York over the past five years.
said Mac Cushing, Key Grip for syracuse.com | subsequent criterion.
But Cushing said most crew members were not paid after the first week of production. In the middle of the second week, a producer told him that paychecks would be issued every two weeks even though the crew expected to be paid weekly. Cushing said that when they threatened to quit, the producers promised to fix it by the following Monday or Tuesday.
Producer Jerry Bass blamed the threat on “rumors from union representatives” about proof of deposit; He said “The Hermit” is a non-union film.
On Tuesday, August 30, the crew wasn’t paid, according to Cushing, so they walked off the set. Filming stopped. Ferrinho and others returned to their homes.
Bass producer Kenneth Greenblatt and the Syracuse Film Bureau confirmed that production was halted after the crew went on strike.
syracuse.com bass said | The Post-Standard reports that “nearly everyone involved” was paid within the first two weeks and some were paid within three weeks. The financial troubles began when an investor who had promised $200,000 offered only a tenth of that — $20,000 — and the crew was informed within the third week, according to Pass.
Bass said he put $150,000 out of his own pocket, but he couldn’t do more to prevent what he called a “rebellion.”
Cushing said he owes about $4,000 between his personal business and rents from his company, Salt City Grip. He estimated that tens of thousands of dollars were still owed for the 60-person crew, including reimbursement for specific construction costs.
“We feel kind of helpless because we feel there is no legal recourse,” Cushing said. “It will cost more to sue them than the amount of money we will return… It is a horrific situation because if any of us do this kind of production, we will be arrested.”
Cushing, whose credits include Jackie Robinson’s biopic “42” and more than a dozen other films shot in Nashville and New York City, said he returned to his hometown of Syracuse in 2020 and wanted to star in films locally. He founded his own film-making company to provide camera support equipment, play dolls, tripods, and similar devices, as well as a rental home for lighting equipment.
“We are aware of the situation and are trying to keep the lines of communication open with all involved,” said Eric Vinal, Vice President of Film, Television and Entertainment at Visit Syracuse.
Everyone agreed that seeing productions shut down due to financial problems is a rarity in the film industry.
Vinal said it was the first time this had ever happened in his eight years with the Syracuse Film Bureau. Cushing said he only heard of it happening once in Nashville during his nearly 20-year career. Bass said he has never had problems with his other films, which include crediting an executive producer on “manodromeFilmed in Syracuse last winter with Jesse Eisenberg and Adrien Brody.
Four people involved in the production of “Manodrome” told syracuse.com that there were payment delays that led to the formation of the crew union. Two sources said production was briefly halted for negotiations, and everyone was eventually paid within two months of the film’s completion.
Bass told syracuse.com that he had heard about budget limit concerns with the “Manodrome,” but said he was not involved in funding this project.
Cushing and Kyle Stack, a worker who worked in lighting and electric power supply for “The Hermit,” said the producers tried to blame others for the non-payment.
They claimed it was a payment processing issue,” Stack told syracuse.com.
Pass calls the “The Hermit” crew “rough” and “grumpy,” while also expressing his frustration with the non-financial delays. Cushing said torrential rain sometimes affected filming, while Bass revealed that two people involved in the film needed medical treatment.
Lead actress Malina Wiseman, best known for playing Violet Baudelaire in “A Series of Unfortunate Events” and young Kara Zor-El in Supergirl, has got strong glue in her eye, according to Pass. Bass said she needed a microscopic knife and lost her eyelashes. She was not able to shoot scenes for five days due to the injury.
Bass said David Wolfgang, director of photography, also had to go to the hospital for a cholecystectomy.
Bass and Greenblatt said new funding is being raised with plans to return to Syracuse to finish “The Hermit” in the fourth quarter of 2022. One problem is continuity: If the papers change or winter weather sets in, it could significantly affect filming and editing.
Cushing praised Vinal for his work as a go-between for the two sides, but he wasn’t sure if he would be involved in the rest of the production.
Stack, who said he has acted in about 20 films including “Plan B” and “Plan B” for American HighGluttony 2: It’s a great partySuggested that it would not work with Pass again.
Vinal said he hopes to find the best solution for everyone. He also expressed his support for the film’s crew.
“They are the lifeblood of what we do,” Vinal told syracuse.com. “We support them.”
The release date of “The Hermit” by Italian director Salvatore Sclafani has not been announced.