WILMINGTON — Get ready for Thalian Hall to become a scream-fest. Local filmmaker Billy Lewis is planning a special screening of his new paranormal thriller, “The Terrible Two,” in the historic downtown venue on Thursday.
In a time when the future of film making looks increasingly bleak in a place once called “Hollywood East,” Lewis is set to release his second independent film after writing and directing “The Jailhouse” in 2009.
“Since doing ‘The Jailhouse’ I’ve become a much better storyteller and filmmaker,” said Lewis. “Making a movie is such a collaborative effort, and it takes a really good team to pull a feature film off. With ‘The Terrible Two’ we had a really good group of filmmakers and crew working together to bring this little movie to life.
“I truly want what’s best for the movie and to tell the best story possible. To make that happen you have to be open to others ideas and suggestions and I did that with ‘The Terrible Two.’”
The film follows the strange events in the residence of Albert and Rose Poe beginning on the first anniversary of their two young daughters’ tragic deaths. Is it a simple case of a mother’s grief-stricken heart getting the best of her? Or is there something far more sinister at play in the Poe house?
The film stars Cari Moskow (“Tarnished Notes,” “One Tree Hill”), Reid Doyle (“Swamp Murders”), Devin McGee (“One Tree Hill,” “Hidden Figures”), Donny Boaz (“Six,” “My All-American,” “The Great Debaters”), Tracy McMullan (“House of Cards,” “Nashville”) and features Ariana Baron (“Flowers for Sale”) and newcomer Arielle Breslerman as the unfortunate young girls.
“’The Terrible Two’ is truly a Wilmington Film,” Lewis added. “It was written, financed, cast, produced and edited all out of Wilmington.”
Upon completing the first draft of his screenplay, Lewis reached out to local actor and business associate Reid Doyle to play one of the leads in the film. Doyle was so excited by the project he decided to do whatever he could to make sure the film happened. In doing so, he found his first producer credit.
It wasn’t long after that Lewis reached out to enlist the talents of his friend, longtime Wilmington filmmaker Jonathan Landau (“The Last Summer,” “The Vamprentice”), who would also sign on as producer and come to supervise the film’s production.
In finding a location to shoot the film, Lewis looked no further than his own home. After searching to buy a new home with his wife, Mollie, his ultimatum in making the purchase was to have “The Terrible Two” filmed there.
“Mollie agreed but didn’t believe me,” Lewis said. “The first time we walked through the house I noticed how much room there was to move around and have lights, cameras, crew. A year later we had a full crew in here and turned the house into a movie set.
“My wife was a real trooper to allow us to do that and for that I’m very appreciative,” he said. “The fact that we shot a horror film in the house hasn’t bothered her much, but some of our family have been a bit creeped out.”
The screening of “The Terrible Two” will take place at 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 23, on the Main Stage of Wilmington’s Historic Thalian Hall. Tickets for the show are available by visiting Thalian Hall’s website.
While Lewis has nurtured his latest product for the last few years, making an independent film doesn’t necessarily pay the bills. Because of that, Lewis has used his talents to launch his own video/film production company, Orange St. Films. The local business produces television commercials, music videos, marketing videos and movies.
“Whether it be a 15 second commercial or a feature film I try to tell a story through all of my projects and jobs,” Lewis said. “I have some really good clients who give me the freedom to think outside the box with their businesses. Having my own business allows me time to do my projects like ‘The Terrible Two’ and for that I’m very grateful.”
While major productions have seen a drop in Wilmington over the last couple of years, Lewis is dedicated to keeping the film industry alive through his work. He believes expertise in all facets of the industry still exists locally.
“We had a phenomenal crew working on ‘The Terrible Two’ and I’m very thankful for every person that played a part in the production of this movie. My biggest desire is to continue to find the funds to create original films and series here in Wilmington,” he said.