G. Calvin Berry has a point.
“How many stories do you see about the city of Worcester?” asked the founder and CEO of Vertex Entertainment. “You don’t see any stories about Worcester on the big screen.”
This is one issue Berry has taken into his own hands, by writing a screenplay for a new film called “Two Days to Pay.”
Worcester residents may have noticed back in mid-December, all the costumed actors and film equipment taking over streets of the city. That was Berry and his crew shooting a pitch trailer for the film. They shut down Main Street for a period to shoot car scenes and bounced around from the Albion Hotel to Lincoln Street.
Plumley Village now stands on the grounds where Berry grew up. Laurel Street used to be a very rough part of the city, and that is where the story originates. “Two Days to Pay” is semi-autobiographical, as Berry wrote the screenplay about his experiences growing up in Worcester.
“This was a story I always wanted to tell,” said Berry, who will be directing the film as well. “I started it about 16 years ago. It has been a surreal experience. It is a powerful thing to grow up in [Worcester], and it was a big deal, to be able to talk about the city I grew up in and be able to show the different time periods of that city.”
His ode to the city of his youth will utilize Worcester as a character more than a set piece. The film will span decades, showing the different stages of Worcester’s past. We’ll watch to see the main character grow up and come of age on the mean streets of the city.
Elijah Gonzalez was the first actor Berry met that fit the bill of his former self.
“All these great little kids came to the casting call, but you couldn’t get any of them to be gruff enough,” remembers Berry. “It was really hard casting a little me.”
In passing one day, a friend of Berry told him of a woman he knew who had a son doing some acting. Gonzalez met with Berry and together they worked hard to develop a personality and idea of who this character was, and what he would draw from Berry’s own past.
Things like Gonzalez’ casting have just come organically for Berry and “Two Days to Pay.” When they couldn’t find the right style and time period of car for a particular scene, Berry came across the perfect Lincoln Town Car at a red light one day in Webster Square.
He rolled down the window and asked the driver to follow him to the set on Alsada Drive. After convincing the man to be a few minutes late to church on that Sunday morning, the crew got the shots they needed and production moved forward.
That driver, wound up being the father of one of Berry’s childhood friends.
“My wife said to me, that was your friend Willy sending his father down to help you out,” chuckled Berry. “This movie was meant to be made”