The director yelled "action" on the set Monday in Tahlequah as a crew began filming the remake of "Where the Red Fern Grows". The original was shot on location in eastern Oklahoma and the remake will revisit some of those same places.
Beneath a canopy of pear and sycamore trees, the started shooting. Director Lyman Dayton produced the original film and heâ€™s back for the remake. "If we can just capture all of those elements that we did before and add the other nuances that can make it unique for todayâ€™s audience, then we feel like we really will have pulled something off," said Dayton.
The original is still popular at video stores. The book on which the movie was based is required reading for 7th graders. That's where Joseph Ashton first heard the story. He's the star of the new film. "I was reading the book thinking this would be a pretty cool movie,â€ he said. â€œThen a year later, I'm in the movie, so I'm really excited."
Ashton plays a young boy trying to earn money to buy some raccoon-hunting hounds. It's a role set in Oklahoma among the Ozark foothills and the changing leaves of fall. "And we're going to put a little interesting twist in the story this time in terms of the historical aspects of it,â€ said Dayton. â€œWe're going to include the Cherokees as a big part of the whole fabric of the story."
Though the original film was shot 26 years ago, many of the original locations still remain unchanged, so they'll be seen again in the new film. The director has planned a six-week shooting schedule with most of the principal photography shot in Cherokee County. The film crew will also visit Natural Falls State Park, shooting scenes for the movie near the waterfall. This is the most important location of the movie. The crew plans to film the grotto with the pond. This is where the red ferns grow.