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Hollywood Returns to Oldham County

Filming of movie ‘JL Ranch’
gives locals a brush with stars

Actor Jon Voight produces, stars in second film
to be shot in Oldham County

LA GRANGE, Ky. (April 2016) – Georgetown, Ky., native Kayla Perkins has worked with some big-name Hollywood stars: Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise, Hayden Panettiere and even country singer Tim McGraw. In January, she worked with veteran actor Jon Voight on a movie filmed in Oldham County.
Perkins played a government agent and was “a little star-struck, like everyone else,” even though she tried not to be. “I got to sit right next to him in the scene,” said the 22-year-old actress and model.

Photo courtesy of Dolbow Insurance (Kelli Weakly)

Filming for a scene in “JL Ranch” takes place on La Grange, Ky.,’s Main Street in January.

“I’ve gotten to work around some big stars, but I respect their privacy,” she said. Despite her young age, Perkins has an impressive acting credit list of her own. She has had roles in “Dreamer” and “Country Strong,” portrayed a trophy wife for Bruce Willis in “Marauders,” and has a role in the Tom Cruise movie, “Mena,” that will hit theaters this year. She has also produced her own calendar, Dream Girls 2016, and stars in several local commercials. Perkins has been working on a new TV sitcom with Billy Ray Cyrus as well.
She has just wrapped filming for Season 4 of “Nashville.”
“I play Hayden’s best friend,” said Perkins, in reference to actress Hayden Panettiere, who stars in the hit TV series.
Perkins has done promo work in between movie shoots and has managed to turn acting into a full-time career. Two years ago, she lived in Los Angeles for six months and debated on moving there permanently for her career. But she said, “I can’t see leaving Kentucky. It’s a totally different environment out there.”

Photo courtesy of Mike Prather

Actor Jon Voight (center with hat) poses with several Oldham Countians and artists, whose artwork was used in the film “JL Ranch.” They are (from left) David Swinney, Kelli Swinney (artist), Clayton Prather (student artist), Karen Prather and Mike Prather, owner of PRATHERdesign Studios.

She travels back and forth to shoots and said it was wonderful to recently film with Voight, lead actor and producer of a modern ranch movie, “JL Ranch.” Filming for their scene took place in a Remax office building in Crestwood, Ky.
“It was wonderful to work with him. He would stop and take pictures with the extras,” she said.
Perkins has been a huge fan of Voight’s daughter, Angelina Jolie, for a long time. “His daughter is my idol” because of her successful acting career and charity work for others.
In working on the set of “JL Ranch,” she had the chance to “work with some of the leading ladies, too. They were all pleasant to work with,” making it a memorable experience for Perkins.
Voight and producer Steven Paul visited Kentucky last November to scout out locations for their movie, ending up in La Grange. The pair visited The Treasured Child store on La Grange’s Main Street, and when owner Taylor Reinhardt suggested they meet her mom, they took her up on it.
They struck up a friendship with Reinhardt’s mom, Ellie Troutman, who in turn became a kind  of chauffer, showcasing Oldham County and pointing out possible movie locations in the area.
“Jon wanted to see other places and lock in sites,” said Troutman. 

Photo courtesy of Vin Morreale

A large group of cast, crew and extras from “JL Ranch” pose for a photo in front of the Oldham County Courthouse after a night of filming on La Grange’s Main Street.

One place on Main Street that he was very interested in was Troutman’s restaurant, Rails Restaurant and Bar. “It was his No. 1 pick and was used in two scenes for the movie.” In the movie, Rails appears as the Iron Horse Bar and Vernon’s Steakhouse.
Voight actually visited Oldham County several times to scout for location sites. Filming began Jan. 6 and wrapped on Feb. 4.
In addition to Rails, locations around the county that were used to film JL Ranch include:  Asbourne Farm, One Nineteen West Main (which appears as Mabel’s Diner), the Oldham County Courthouse, a private home in Anchorage, Ky., and sites in Ballardsville, Crestwood and Pewee Valley.
The Hallmark Channel film is about John Landsburg, or JL, (played by Voight), an old-fashioned, conservative cowboy who owns a large ranch in a small Montana town.

Photo courtesy of Ellie Troutman

Director of Photography Kris Kimlin (seated) and camera operator Michael Givenst (wearing cap) work on a scene for “JL Ranch” in Oldham County.

As the patriarch of a large family who also lives with him, JL struggles to maintain possession of his ranch and keep his family together at the same time.
JL, a former sheriff as well as rancher, must face the entire federal bureaucracy when his old enemy, Tap Peterson, falsifies documents and alleges that JL does not actually own his beloved ranch. JL won’t give up without a fight, and Peterson soon learns that his plan of revenge will not be as easy to carry out as he had anticipated.
“JL Ranch” also stars James Caan, Teri Polo, Melanie Griffith, Trevor Donovan, Skylar Shaye, Steven Bauer and Nathan Keys.
Voight stars and assumes the role of co-executive producer for “JL Ranch” with Paul, of Crystal Sky Entertainment. While in Oldham County, they set up a base camp at CityPlace in La Grange.
“They used our facility several times while filming in this area,” said Karen Greenwell, Administrator for CityPlace. Producers had made arrangements for the film crew to stay in tents on location, but with unexpected snow, they used CityPlace as “a waiting area for shuttle buses to pick up the actors and take them to where filming was taking place.”
Greenwell said there were 92 extras in the film. Many were hired through VSM Entertainment, based in Valley Village, Calif. She vividly remembers a “helicopter scene where everyone in the film was in it.”

Photo provided

Posing with actor Jon Voight (far right) are George Rawlings, CEO of The Rawlings Group in La Grange, Ky., and Oldham County horse farm owner Ellie Troutman.

One of these extras was southern Indiana resident Emmalee Parker. “I played a waitress in a café and got my part at the last minute,” said the 16-year-old homeschooled student.
Parker began acting at age 3 and “broke out acting in the Kentuckian area six months ago,” she said. “I have a passion for it.”
She has recently been shooting scenes for an independent project titled, “Sins,” which is a series based in Louisville. It has some “pretty well-known actors in it,” said Parker.
Of her experience on the set of “JL Ranch,” Parker said it was “wonderful. The crew was more than welcoming. It was a humbling experience.” She shot her scenes at the La Grange Main Street restaurant, One Nineteen West Main. “I hope to do more things like this in the future.” 
Last year, another Hallmark Channel film, “The Ultimate Legacy,” was filmed in Oldham County and premiered in December at CityPlace, with proceeds benefiting U.S. military veterans. Voight was in town before the premier and actually confirmed the filming of his movie then, said Greenwell.
CityPlace was used as a base camp for “The Ultimate Legacy” as well. Trailers were set up along Washington Street and outside Pavilion 1 for wardrobe, make-up, hair, etc. “Greenrooms were set up inside Pavilion 1 for the three main actors in “The Ultimate Legacy” who were filming on Main Street,” said Greenwell.
While in town for the filming of “JL Ranch,” the crew visited several local eateries and businesses. Mike Prather, owner of Prather Designs on Main Street in La Grange, said some of his artwork and some of his student’s artwork were used in background scenes for “JL Ranch.” Additional artwork used was created by Kelli Sweeney, Judy Wegenast, Kevin Bonham and Ginney Thielen.

Kayla Perkins

“They came in my studio looking for items for the set, then picked out items and took them to the locations where they were filming,” said Prather, who works in oil and charcoal drawings. Some of the artwork crew members picked out included oil paintings of different still-life’s and works depicting a train coming through La Grange, golf courses and horses. “I’m not sure how they’ll be used,” Prather said, “or if they make the cut.”
Some of his work was used in “The Ultimate Legacy” also. Prather said it was really exciting to be a part of the filming experience. “Being where our studio is, overlooking Main Street, we could see what was going on.”
His impression of Voight mirrored that of everyone else’s. “He was nice enough to let us sit in on the set for a few minutes and talked to us. Everybody was gracious and polite to the business owners in town.”

“JL Ranch” is expected to air sometime this summer on the Hallmark Channel.

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