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Who is that masked man filming in Sault Ste. Marie?
By MIKE VERDONE - Sault Star


Filming of A Masked Saint is taking place in Sault Ste. Marie.

A masked man who battles bad guys on the streets of Sault Ste. Marie?

Well, sort of.

Principal shooting of the film, A Masked Saint, began in the city on Monday and will continue for three weeks at several locations in town, including Sault College, Essar Centre, the First Baptist Church and the former St. Mary's Paper site.

The movie was inspired by the life of Chris Whaley, a former professional wrestler, who became a Baptist minister.

Whaley is in the Sault this week visiting the set.


A Masked Saint is produced by P23 Entertainment and Ridgerock Faith, in conjunction with the Northern Ontario based production company, Hideaway Pictures.

The family friendly film is directed by Warren Sonoda (Servitude, Textuality, Ham and Cheese). Sonoda is an award-winning director with more than 160 music videos to his credit.

Sault native Cliff McDowell, a producer at P23 Entertainment, which is based in Richmond Hill, Ont., describes the film as an inspiring, action-packed movie that deals with the importance of family, faith and community.

McDowell, who is the founder/president of P23, has also produced a children's animation series called, Paws and Tales.

A Masked Saint stars Brett Granstaff (Set Up, Boystown) in the lead role as Reverend Chris Samuels, and Lara Jean Chorostecki (Hannibal, Copper).

It features theatre, TV and movie star Diahann Carroll, who was nominated for an Academy Award in 1974 for her performance in Claudine.

Carroll (White Collar, Grey's Anatomy, Dynasty) is also a singer who became the first African-American woman to star in her own television series, Julia, from 1968-71. She won a Golden Globe Award in 1968.

Retired wrestler Roddy (Rowdy) Piper (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, WWF Raw) is also in the movie.

Unit publicist Kim Yu said Wednesday that about half the cast are local, including stand-ins Emily Jean Mountford and Mark Grandmont.

Other local actors in the movie include Darcy Denis Roy, Sonya Ostrowski-Masotti, Tanya Boychuk, Dylan Cook and Joanna Freytag.

In addition, filmmakers are looking for background performers to appear as extras in the crowd during wrestling scenes. Extras must be at least 16-years old and committed to being available for at least eight hours during the day of shooting.

“Anyone interested has to be available November 18th, 19th and 20th,” said unit publicist Kim Yu, from her Toronto office on Wednesday.

Extras will not be paid, but food will be provided and participants will have a chance to win prizes.

Those interested in being extras should email their name, age and phone number to amaskedsaintbg@gmail.com

A Masked Saint revolves around the life of pro wrestler Chris Samuels, who answers the call to become a pastor then retires from the ring and moves to a small town with his family, where he deals with a whole new set of challenges that make the battles he faced in the ring seem small.

Samuels becomes a masked, crime-fighting vigilante that is sought by police.

Carroll appears as an elderly woman who offers Samuels sage advice.

Patrick McKenna (The Red Green Show, Rick Mercer Report, Hard Rock

Medical) also appears in the film as an overbearing congregant.

The movie is set to be released in Canada and the U.S. next summer.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story originally appeared in the Sault Star on Thursday, November 7, 2013.

RELATED LINKS

  • Dec. 12, 2013: Wrestling and religion mix in upcoming film
  • A Masked Saint movie on Facebook
  • Dr. Chris Whaley's website - themaskedsaint.com
  • The SLAM! Wrestling Movie Database