Movie magic

An empty lot near Wholesale Club in Penticton has become a staging area for a series pilot being produced by Kevin Costner.

Dozens of trucks, tents and trailers have taken up residence in an empty lot near Wholesale Club in Penticton to support a two-week film shoot that’s being produced by Hollywood star Kevin Costner.

A member of the support team who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly told The Herald on Tuesday the Wholesale Club lot is simply a staging area for services like wardrobe, catering and COVID-19 testing.

A fleet of buses is taking actors and crew to locations outside of the city that will star in the pilot for “National Parks,” which Costner is pitching to the Disney+ streaming service, according to the worker.

The production team didn’t respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Variety Magazine reported in February the series centres on an elite group of investigators who work for the U.S. National Park Service.

“While the national parks are known for their sweeping, beautiful landscapes, there is also a darker, more sinister side to these parks that attract a vast array of criminal activity,” notes the Variety article.

“’National Parks’ will follow the small group of elite NPS agents as they solve these crimes while protecting these national treasures.”

The show stars veteran actor Billy Campbell, who had a recurring role on TV series “Dynasty” and parts in movies like “The Rocketeer” and “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”

More recently, Campbell’s work on the CTV series “Cardinal” earned him Canadian Screen Awards in 2019 and 2020, plus a nomination for 2021.

Costner is producing the pilot through his company, Territory Pictures Entertainment, and serving as a co-writer, but will not appear on camera, according to Variety.

The 66-year-old currently stars in “Yellowstone,” a drama series set in the national park of the same name that screens on the Paramount Network and Amazon Prime streaming service.

Okanagan film commissioner Jon Summerland declined to comment on the ‘National Parks’ production Tuesday citing a non-disclosure agreement, but issued a press release about a second feature that’s set to start shooting soon in the South Okanagan.

“Secrets of a Marine's Wife” will take crews to Osoyoos, Oliver, and Cawston, which will double as Southern California in the film from Front Street Pictures.

"It's exciting to have a new production company come to our region to film," Summerland said in the release.

"And what we know is that once they come they keep coming back for all that this region has to offer: the extensive amenities, scenery, locations, weather, services and welcoming communities."

Based on a true story, the film tells about the affair of a 19-year-old woman, married to a U.S. Marine and expecting her first baby, with another Marine. The story turned tragic when the woman's body was found at the bottom of an abandoned mine shaft.