OAKVILLE – The farmhouse is scarcely used — more of a vacation home for its Dallas owners.
Now though, in contrast to its simple setting among the old oaks and brush that cover the landscape, a New York film crew has taken up residence.
Inside this Oakville home, the crew of two dozen scurry about.
No shoes are allowed.
The old wooden floors creak enough without the echo of tapping soles.
From the entryway, the director makes his call. “Everybody settle.
The house is silent.
Even the wind stops as the actors of “Pasture” perform.
Nick and Gabriel Grant are producing this film, shooting it over the next few weeks on their family’s ranch there.
“It is a psychological horror,” Nick said. “A woman wakes up on a ranch unsure of where or even who she is.
“She grows to distrust the doctors who claim to be her family, and it slowly becomes clear that she is the subject of radical neurological experimentation.
“Will she escape the ranch before they’ve completely transformed her mind?”
The two producers are the children of the home’s former resident, Reg Grant, who grew up there years ago.
Casting was done in New York and Austin with online submissions accepted.
“We have cast members from all over but the majority of our cast are Texans,” Nick said. Five cast members are from Three Rivers, with others from New York, Los Angeles and New Mexico.
The idea for the movie came about in part because of the ranch itself.
The brothers, who own Rook Productions, began working on this film almost three years ago, with the last of this time spent securing investors for the project and finalizing the script.
Of course, during this time, they could not be idle, so in the meanwhile, they produced a series of short films.
“We did those shorts because we were going to do this one and we wanted to get this team together,” Gabriel said. “This production is even bigger than Gutboy.”
With the help of their friend and writer Alexis Roblam and Sean Hardaway, who served as cinematographer on “Gutboy: A Badtime Story,” they started out.
“We showed Alexis some photos of the ranch,” Nick said.
She was inspired.
The 1,300 acres is diverse.
“The Nueces River runs through it,” Nick said. “It has areas that look like scrub land.”
Old buildings dart the landscape contrasted by more modern, maintained houses.
“It is just a really gorgeous location,” he said. “We are able to get a lot out of it.”
A majority of the film will be shot on the ranch, although they are hoping to get permission to film inside the aquarium in Corpus Christi.
“They have a cuttlefish and we are asking if we can come out and shoot there,” Nick said.
Movies run in the family for the Grant brothers.
“I grew up in Dallas. My father grew up in Oakville,” Nick said.
His father is a seminary professor teaching, among other subjects, preaching and creative writing.
“We were raised as writers and creative folks,” Nick said. “That was really important to our father from the beginning.”
They are even working with their father on another series featuring his portrayal of biblical characters.
“That is just coming together,” Nick said.
He expects to wrap up shooting “Pasture” by the end of the month.
“We have been down here two weeks already, so we have 20 filming days left,” Nick said.
That might not seem like long, but it is about right for this type of film.
“We don’t have too many pages per day, so we are able to take our time a little bit.
“We all know each other real well, so it is a pretty well oiled machine.”
The brothers work full time in the production business, which means working 12-hour days for a month or more straight. Then their time is free for the next month or two, allowing them to work on films like this.
“This is only our second feature film,” Gabriel said.
More filming will come as both look to the future and growing Rook Productions.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5221, or at media@mySouTex.com.