When a Seymour woman learned there was an opportunity to be part of the filming for the movie “Mayberry Man” in Danville this year, she had a decision to make.
She could step out of her comfort zone, send in her photo and hope to be in the movie or she could just do nothing and nip it in the bud.
Karen Eudaly decided to take a chance, and it paid off.
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“My mom first heard about the movie in The Indianapolis Star and sent me the link, then called me and thought I should do it,” she said. “This all began last year when I first became a backer of the movie and started receiving movie update emails throughout the year.”
There were different pledge levels to help support the film. For a pledge of $250 or more, a person could be an extra in the film.
Eudaly said for being a backer and an extra in the movie, she received a “Mayberry Man” T-shirt and a baseball cap. After the movie is completed, she will get a DVD autographed by the director, a digital download, two red carpet premiere passes and an autographed script.
Born in Seymour, Eudaly and her family moved to Greenwood when she was young.
Growing up, she spent many summers at her grandparents’ place in Jackson County. Then in 1994, she moved back to Seymour, where she currently lives with her husband and kids.
“We got an email this summer that said to have a photo of ourselves sent in by the first part of August,” she said. “Then we needed to send pictures of ourselves wearing five different outfits that we could wear for the movie by Aug. 15 because wardrobe was not provided.”
To audition for a feature role, a person had to choose which character(s) to audition for, record a video of the audition and whether or not they could work as a local in Danville or Mount Airy, North Carolina.
Eudaly thought about auditioning for a part and then changed her mind. She was very happy with her part in the film and had no previous acting experience.
“I was so excited that I was going to be an extra in the movie, and when I was notified that I was to have a featured part, I was out of control,” she said. “They needed a wife for a featured character, and they went through photos of the extras and picked me. I didn’t have a speaking part but was more than an extra.”
Eudaly said she was among the cast members chosen to do an interview about her experience with the film and hopes it will be included at the end of the movie.
When filming began outside the Hendricks County Courthouse, Eudaly was on the set every day for five days, beginning Sept. 5.
“I currently work as a business secretary for The Awning Guy Inc. in Seymour and have been there for over five years,” she said. “He’s really good about us taking time off, so that wasn’t a problem. I just used vacation time. A couple of days, we had to be on the set early at like 6:30 a.m., and we’d work until around 6 p.m. If we were not slotted for a certain scene, we’d just wait until it was our time.”
Even if the extras weren’t slotted for a certain scene, the production crew might say, “OK, we need five extras right now.”
“You just went, so we couldn’t really leave when our scene was done because they might need us,” she said.
“Mayberry Man” is a family comedy that tells the fictional story of a conceited movie star who is caught in the act of speeding in a small southern town and is sentenced by a judge to attend Mayberry Fest, a festival celebrating “The Andy Griffith Show.” Through this journey, he discovers the true meaning of friendship and family.
“The Andy Griffith Show” is an American situation comedy television series that aired from 1960 to 1968 and has a large fan base. Reruns are shown daily on various TV and streaming channels.
Originally, “Mayberry Man” was scheduled to start filming in Danville during the town’s annual Mayberry in the Midwest festival in mid-May, but the event was canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Filming was then moved to Labor Day weekend.
During filming of the movie, Eudaly said there was a COVID-19 officer on the set, and every morning, he took cast members’ temperatures. Also, cast and crew wore masks unless they were outside and could social distance.
A huge Andy Griffith fan, Eudaly has been to the Mayberry in the Midwest festival a few times.
“A couple years ago at the festival, I met Maggie Peterson, who played Charlene Darling from the TV show,” Eudaly said. “I also met Rodney Dillard, one of the Darling boys. He is the only survivor of the four musicians who portrayed the Darling brothers on the show.”
Eudaly said Mayberry Cafe in Danville is neat and has all of its TVs showing “The Andy Griffith Show.” Then impersonators will come in and talk to the customers, pose for pictures and give autographs.
The majority of “Mayberry Man” was shot in Danville. Then the production crew was taking a few days off before heading out to do a couple more days of filming in Mount Airy, North Carolina, Andy Griffith’s hometown.
“I would encourage anybody to try out to be in a movie because it’s a really neat experience and it really gives you an inside look,” Eudaly said. “So the next time I watch a movie, I’m going to look at it like, ‘They probably rehearsed that five times and did it in three takes.’”
She said the experience was extra special for her because she’s a huge Andy Griffith fan.
“I’d say about 97 to 98% of the people there were all volunteers, like the production coordinators who put in about 15 or 16 hours a day,” she said. “Just everybody there was an Andy Griffith fan, so when you were with them, you could be standing in line waiting to do a scene and someone might start up some trivia from the show.”
The movie director, Stark Howell, and the producer, Cort Howell, are the sons of the actor Hoke Howell, who played Dud Wash on the TV show. They also hung out with Ron Howard growing up, and that just made it extra special.
“I’m really thankful that Cort and Stark Howell did this and gave us Mayberry fans and Andy Griffith fans an opportunity to do it,” Eudaly said. “This is something I wouldn’t normally do because I don’t know much about this stuff, and I am kind of shy.”
She said she has met so many people through her movie experience and made new friends, and they all have their love of “The Andy Griffith Show” in common.
The people Eudaly was most excited to meet during the filming were Cort and Stark Howell because their dad was on the show, and she was excited to meet Karen Knotts, daughter of Don Knotts, who played the role of Barney Fife in the show.
“My mom and husband took really good care of me while I was filming, and my husband made sure he always had something for me to drink or eat,” she said. “My mom made my lunch every day and had dinner waiting when I finished and drove back to her house in Greenwood.”
Eudaly said her kids thought she was crazy for being in the movie, but she told them just wait until the movie is on TV because she’s going to have a premiere party.
“I think why so many people love ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’ at least for me, is because it’s about a time you can go back to, a time when life wasn’t so complicated, and it lets you just relax and enjoy some family comedy,” she said.
“Mayberry Man” is a low-budget film and still needs financial backing. Anyone interested can go online to supportmayberryman.com to help support the family friendly comedy, which is scheduled to be released in May 2021.
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For information about the "Mayberry Man" movie, visit mayberryman.com, supportmayberryman.com or facebook.com/MayberryManMovie.