Nearly 200 people filled the seats of one of the buildings at Regina’s Evraz Place Thursday night serving as extras in the film Chokeslam.
The film – a romantic comedy about a female wrestler and the nerdy guy she dated in high school – features a number of wrestling scenes, and what’s a wrestling match without a crowd of fans cheering?
Emily and Matthew Brown were part of that crowd throughout the week.
“Knowing that they’re wrestling fans, anyway, I thought that they’d be really excited,” Deanna Brown, Emily and Matthew’s mother, said as they waited for filming to begin. Emily and Matthew had spent a lot of late nights serving as extras for the film, even getting to meet some wrestling legends along the way.
“Monday night we came and Mick Foley was here,” Deanna explained, “who is a hall of famer himself and a champion. And, I think, seeing Matthew vibrate after meeting him – cause he’s a pretty calm kid – so just to see the excitement that he got to meet somebody of that calibre, I think, has probably been the highlight for me this week.”
For the kids, getting to learn a bit about films was the highlight.
“(I learned) that extras get free Subway,” Matthew said.
Matthew and Emily Brown meet Mick Foley on the set of Chokeslam.
A great location
This isn’t the first time the filmmakers behind Chokeslam have made a film in Saskatchewan.
Producer Anand Ramayya and Director Robert Cuffley worked together on the film Ferocious in Saskatoon a few years ago. Wanting to do another project in Saskatchewan, the filmmakers said funding and other elements eventually came together for Chokeslam to be filmed in Regina.
“This is location is half of what brought me here, how spectacular it is,” Cuffley said of the venue at Evraz Place that serves as the set for the wrestling matches.
The building itself has a history with wrestling: it was the venue for the Stampede Wrestling circuit, and it’s scheduled to be demolished later this year to make way for the new International Trade Centre.
“For years, for decades, all of the top wrestlers in the country, when they were in Saskatchewan, they did their matches here,” Ramayya explained.
“So they all have stories and memories of this actual location.”
“So it’s kind of nice that we’re preserving it,” Cuffley agreed.
Chokeslam is the fourth film that Cuffley has directed – a film that he also wrote. Cuffley admitted that it’s also the first of his films that his children will be able to see.
“I’m more interested in subverting what’s already been done,” Cuffley said, explaining why the lead character of the wrestler is a woman rather than a man. “And my movies are mostly about women – strong women as the leads. And this is no exception. “
Both Cuffley and Ramayya agreed that the extras – like the Brown family – have been a huge help to the project so far.
“This is a really ambitious, indie film,” Ramayya said. “We’re sort of reaching beyond our grasp here in terms of budget. But the community’s been supportive. We’ve had a lot of people come out and volunteer as extras for us.”