State rep’s Elgin house serves as the location for horror film
By Mike Danahey email@example.com May 31, 2012 7:02PM
Brian Dailey (from left), Director of Photography Rob Stern and Director and Producer Tony Wash work on a movie called “Grandma O’Malley’s Pantry" at State Rep Keith Farnham old house in Elgin. Farnham is renting out the home he lived in and he has he for sale for the past three years, to a crew shooting a segment in an indie horror film anthology. May 29, 2012 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 6, 2012 8:54AM
ELGIN — Make your own political joke here: State Rep. Keith Farnham recently rented the home his family lived in for 25 years to an indie film crew that used the northeast-side Victorian as the set for part of a horror movie anthology.
Writer-director-producer Tony Wash said the work’s title is “Grandma O’Malley’s Pantry,” which is to be one of five shorts from five directors that will make up “Chop Shop.”
Wash, who currently lives in Algonquin, last got the attention of local media for his mini-movie, a Nazi-zombie flick “A Chance in Hell,” that premiered in 2010 at the Arcada in St. Charles and which was filmed in part in Elgin. Wash said he still is looking for backers to finance making a full-length version of that 30-minute work.
And he had looked high and low, contacting about 100 Realtors before one of them and one of Farnham’s former neighbors told him about the Spring Street home.
Wash’s crew worked at the Elgin Democrat’s house over the Memorial Day weekend and finished shooting Wednesday. His contribution to “Chop Shop” is set in the 1980s and involves a young girl visiting her grandmother who lives in the past — way in the past, judging by the prim, late-1800s black outfit being worn Tuesday afternoon by Leigh Rose, who plays Grandma O’Malley.
Rose, 75, has an interesting story of her own. She said that after her husband, who worked for the Federal Aviation Administration, died in a plane crash in 1992, she took to acting — taking a headline in the New York Post that read “Go For It!” as a sign to pursue her dream.
Rose has been featured in commercials for Coca-Cola and Olive Garden; stars in “Finding Jenua,” an independent drama recently made available on Netflix; and played James Garner’s wife (a nonspeaking part) in the 1996 comedy movie “My Fellow Americans.”
“I was Jack Nicholson’s girlfriend in (2003’s) ‘Something’s Gotta Give,’ but that got left on the cutting room floor,” Rose said.
Rose said her daughter, Candice, is dating the ex-husband of one of the “Chop Shop” producers, which led to taking the role. Candice plays the younger Grandma O’Malley in Wash’s tale, too.
The film’s short shoot timed nicely with visiting family here in the Chicago area, Rose said. She is in the process of moving to New York from Los Angeles, where she said reality TV shows and the economy have cut work for actors.
Rose said she wasn’t being paid much for the job but takes “any indie project I can get my hands on.”
She earned whatever she made, enduring putting on and wearing monster makeup in Sunday’s and Monday’s record-breaking heat.
For the use of his home, Farnham said he was paid “a couple hundred bucks.”
He noted that the old house has been on the market for three years. In the aftermath of the recession, it is priced at what it was a quarter century ago — despite improvements made to the home. Farnham and his wife, Sue, currently live in a former dairy building at Preston and Cooper avenues.