The movie “Tiger” has wrapped up filming in and around the city, and when the production crew concluded its work this week, they left Hamilton with more than a sense of the mission just being accomplished, but hoping it will join another locally filmed movie that is now seeing an enormous amount of popularity.
Big screen star Mickey Rourke is part of the cast of “Tiger,” along with Prem Singh in the title role. Up and coming actress Janel Parrish also filmed scenes in Hamilton and surrounding parts of Butler and Hamilton counties. Alister Grierson is the director of the movie, which is adapted from a screenplay by Michael Pugliese and Singh.
“Tiger” is the fourth film made in Hamilton over the past two years, along with James Franco’s “The Long Home” in August; “The Echo Effect,” starring professional wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin in 2014; and “Carol,” starring Cate Blanchett, in 2014.
“Carol,” directed by Todd Haynes and produced by Christine Vachon, is a film adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel “The Price of Salt.”
The movie led the Golden Globe nominations with five, including best dramatic film, best drama actress nods for Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, best drama, director and score.
The actors and crew for the film “Tiger” were impressed with Hamilton in a business sense and with the city in general, according to Film Hamilton Director Steve Colwell.
“They said that everything went smooth and outside of a few small hiccups, the crew said filming went quite well,” he said. “Those are good impressions to make on the industry and if the tax credit works out in Ohio, other productions could come as well — right now we are currently scouting for a movie that could be coming here early next year.”
Colwell said there isn’t a specific economic figure available to determine the exact financial impact “Tiger” has had on the local economy, but with a budget of more than $1 million, and about six weeks spent filming in Hamilton, it would be safe to say that restaurants and many other retailers got a boost in their income.
Colwell is happy to see that so much local scenery has been used for “Tiger.” Some of that scenery involved the Pleasant Avenue Gym in Fairfield, and owner Joe Hornsby was sad to see the production leave town. Two of his boxers, Lenny Stakauskas and Stacey Highley appear in the movie.
“They finished some filming here Saturday and I will be in a lot of the training scenes,” Hornsby said. “It was a lot of fun and I’m glad they used my gym to film in.”
Jenni Hubbard, one of the owners of the Almond Sisters Bakery in downtown Hamilton, said the bakery fulfilled a large catering request from the production crew and also sold a large amount of sweets to the cast and crew while they were shooting downtown.
“We had a lot of the production crew come in,” she said. Hubbard added jokingly, “maybe that will lead to some fame and fortune.”
Film crews shot several scenes in Hamilton High School’s gymnasium, weight room area, locker rooms and football stadium, as several residents showed up to pose as extras.
“Tiger” is a movie that tells the real life story of Pardeep Nagra, an Eastern Indian Sikh (Singh) who got banned from boxing, but was later discovered by boxing coach Frank Donovan (Rourke) who guided him becoming an U.S. Olympic boxing hopeful.
The script also delves into racial profiling issues and involves a dramatic courtroom battle that was also filmed in Hamilton.