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Contest gives couple chance to be part of movie shooting in Wilmington

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Hollywood East has been busy recently with several films being shot around the Cape Fear. One movie is a “dream come true” for one Wisconsin man, who says he got lucky by winning his role in the film.

“It’s kind of humbling, because you expect all these big people to have big movie star attitudes and everything, but they’ve been nothing but welcoming,” Ryan Gagner said.

Gagner entered a contest online, and just like that, a star was born. Gagner and his wife won roles in the new movie “Heart of the Country.” He says being in the movie and behind the scenes has really opened his eyes.

“I have a new found appreciation for movies, television,” he said. “I can imagine that commercials are just as extensive.”

Gagner says he gained some insight on the movie because he read the book beforehand.

Author Rene Gutteridge says the film is different in some ways from the book, which she thinks adds to the overall experience of the story.

“I think it’s going to be a really amazing experience for readers and viewers to have the book and the movie,” Gutteridge said. “There are parts of the book that are different from the movie. I think it just adds a dimension of watching this movie, and I think viewers are going to love it.”

As for Wilmington, Gagner and Gutteridge agree it’s the perfect place to shoot the movie.

“The setting here, Wilmington is beautiful, so I think it’s going to be great,” Gutteridge said.

Shooting for “Heart of the Country” is set to wrap soon and open some time next year. The film stars “One Tree Hill” alum and country music singer Jana Kramer.

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