Scenes from movie shot at Catasauqua’s Dery Mansion
The newly renovated historic Dery Mansion, 520 Fifth St., Catasauqua, played a supporting role as a setting for “Mr. Blue Shirt: The Inspiration,” an indie movie written, produced and directed by Easton-based actor Mike Stewart.
The daylong shoot Oct. 14 was filmed in the basement pub, first-floor ballroom and backyard of the former home of silk mill magnate Desiderius George Dery.
Wearing many hats, Stewart also stars in the lead role as Mr. Blue Shirt in this fantasy/adventure film.
“It’s based upon classics from yesteryear like ‘NeverEnding Story,’ ‘The Matrix,’ ‘28 Days Later,’ ‘Lord of the Rings,’ a little bit of ‘The Adventures of Batman’ and a lot of other ones, too, and some ‘American Pie’ humor,” Stewart said. “We got a little bit of everything.”
A 2004 graduate of Wilson Area High School, Stewart attended Northampton Community College and earned a bachelor’s degree in cinema, television and media production from Kutztown University in 2009.
“This is my ‘rookie’ film,” Stewart said.
He is joined by veteran actors Eric Roberts as Famine, Christopher Mann as Pestilence and Brandon E. Brooks as War, along with a host of professional, semiprofessional and amateur talent, several recruited from around the Lehigh Valley.
“It’s a great group, and it’s a fun and entertaining movie,” Roberts said. “The part I’m playing is a part I’ve played before. What it is is somebody who is a control freak. I’m married to one of those and understand them,” he quipped.
With more than 600 credits in film, television and stage, Roberts was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for “Runaway Train” (1985) and three Golden Globe Award nominations. He garnered a 1987 Theatre World Award for his Broadway debut in “Burn This.”
Mann, from the Philadelphia area, was brought in at the last minute to replace an actor who got COVID-19.
“It’s always challenging, especially with independent projects,” Mann said.
The Chester-born actor and producer is known for “Creed II” (2018), “Loving” (2016) and “Mindhunter” (2017).
From South Jersey, Brooks’ most recent film is “Not for Nothing,” which premiered in October. The actor, screenwriter, filmmaker and podcaster is known for “Hi-Fear” (2022) and “ILL” (2021).
Local talent appearing in front of the camera include Michael Kuhns, from Whitehall; Jem Lewis, from Catasauqua; Ryan Smith, from Macungie; Liz Hernandez and her son Roman LaCourt, from Allentown; Julia Swartz, from Fogelsville; Vince Rostkowski, from Emmaus; Ron Kocher (stage name: R.J. Koker), from Egypt; and Andre Walck, from Bethlehem.
Locals provided behind the scenes assistance as well - actress and special effects artist Jay Stoddart, from Bethlehem Township; makeup artist Darlene Juhasz, from Fringe Salon & Boutique in Allentown; script supervisor Tamara Hayes, from Bethlehem Township; Easton-based photographer Louis Oliver; and co-producer Chris Snyder, who graduated with Stewart from Kutztown University.
New Jersey talent included Carley Elbert, George Banghart Jr. and Alison Corriere.
“Mr. Blue Shirt: The Inspiration” is currently in postproduction. How many of these scenes filmed at Dery Mansion will make the final cut? The answer lies when the movie gets released in late summer 2023.
The stately residence was built circa 1900 and expanded in 1917. Dery lost his property when the silk industry collapsed during the 1930s. It was later subdivided into apartments.
The 56-room historic mansion has recently been converted into a luxury bed-and-breakfast, with large rooms available for events, an art gallery and artist studios and professional offices administered by Dery Mansion hotel manager Patricia Bee.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.