Packers movie makes its own game-day party

Kendra Meinert
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Ryan Churchill portrays Zagger asking Dana Daurey's character Vanessa for money to park in a scene from "The 60 Yard Line," a movie being filmed at a house on the corner of Oneida Street and Stadium Drive Green Bay.

Leave it to a little Hollywood magic to make a Green Bay Packers bye week feel like a game day.

Extreme green-and-gold vehicles, fans in Aaron Rodgers jerseys, red Solo cups, the guy with no shirt on ... all the staples of Lambeau Field tailgating were accounted for Friday near the stadium. No game required.

It was all part of setting the scene for the romantic comedy “The Sixty Yard Line,” which started filming in Ashwaubenon and Green Bay this week. The 90-minute feature film about how one man’s love for his favorite football team comes between him and his girl shot its biggest crowd scene to date, with about 50 people in Packers gear partying it up on the lawn of a house on Stadium Drive.

Monitors show the camera views in a scene where actor Ryan Churchill plays Zagger, asking the character Vanessa for parking money on set for "The 60 Yard Line" at the house on the corner of Oneida Street and Stadium Drive Green Bay Friday.

Denise and John Luby of Green Bay were among the local extras tapped to put on their Packers gear to help recreate the atmosphere at the dozens of homes near Lambeau that park cars in their yards on game days. With each “Action!” from the film crew, they walked across the yard cheering on their way to the stadium.

A brisk October wind added to the authenticity.

“It’s probably good for the movie. More runny noses,” Denise Luby said, as she warmed up between takes in a heavy jacket.

If the scenes make the cut, it will be her movie debut.

“I’m waiting for Ellen (DeGeneres) to see me,” she joked.

Extras act out a tailgate party during filming of "The 60 Yard Line" at a house on the corner of Oneida Street and Stadium Drive Green Bay.

Much of the shooting, expected to continue until Nov. 3, will be done at a house with a backyard just feet from the Lambeau parking lot. It’s the same house that Tim Lucke bought in 2004 for the sole purpose of parking cars on the front lawn and hosting backyard tailgate parties on Packers home game days. It’s a move that inspired his best friend, Ryan Churchill, a Wisconsin native working in film and TV in Los Angeles, to write a screenplay with Nick Greco.

Churchill and Greco, who are also co-executive producers of the low-budget film, star in the movie. The cast includes well-known Hollywood actress Lea Thompson, Packers fullback John Kuhn and former offensive tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher.

Cast and crew, who are from Los Angeles, Chicago and the Green Bay area, are staying in “The Sixty,” their nickname for the house of the shoot, and other nearby houses in the neighborhood. A house next door is used for hair and makeup and its heated garage as a spot for anyone needing to take the chill off.

The Stadium View Sports Bar & Grille has been catering breakfast and lunch to cast and crew, who are fed every six hours during days that can start at 7:30 a.m. and run until 6 p.m.

Local Packers fans offered up their unique tailgating vehicles to be parked in the yard for some of the scenes, including a motorized picnic table on wheels.

Script supervisor Kelsey O'Brein, left, and Director Leif Gantvoort watch a take being filmed on set for "The 60 Yard Line" at a house on the corner of Oneida Street and Stadium Drive Green Bay.

Tammy and Steve Rainville and their two boys, Steven, 15, and Dylan, 13, made the drive from Schofield to have their go-kart get some camera time. It’s a 1973 Red Baron that Steve transformed into Packers colors. The family brings it to training camp each season and has racked up 48 player autographs on it. When Tammy sent a photo to the filmmakers, they were immediately interested.

The boys got to drive it across the yard for filming — although not at its top speed of 43 mph — and it was “amazing,” Dylan said. "Awesome," Steven added.

“We did this for the kids,” Tammy Rainville said of the their family filming outing (on what was the couple’s 16th wedding anniversary).

For John Enix of Oconto Falls, “The Sixty Yard Line” is a chance to put his new film degree to work. His employer allowed him to take three weeks to be the second assistant director, working closely with the extras.

“I’ve done all this in school, so it’s really nice to get paid,” he said. “This is an amazing crew. Everyone is so familial.”

In addition to filming in the house (including a kitchen scene with a cow), the movie will be shot for one day at the Green Bay Press-Gazette building. There will also be some filming in Los Angeles, including scenes that feature Thompson, who plays the mother of one of the characters. The crew may also return to Green Bay to shoot a couple of scenes with snow on the ground.

Filmmakers hope to have the project ready for release sometime during the 2016 Packers season.

Nick Greco (in orange) plays the part of Polano in a scene where he asks Dana Daurey's character Vanessa for money to park  as a crew films "The 60 Yard Line" at the house on the corner of Oneida Street and Stadium Drive Green Bay on Friday.

kmeinert@pressgazettemedia.com and follow her on Twitter @KendraMeinert.

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