Hopewell locals share excitement for ‘Tapawingo’ filming nearby


HOPEWELL – Seth Dye chose a good time to babysit his parents. Just two doors down, the filming for “Tapawingo” was taking place at Brian Stidham’s house in the 3200 block of W. Broadway.

On June 11, Dye posted on Facebook: “I’m watching a movie shot next to Kathy Jo and Big Jim’s house yesterday. Jon Heder, Napoleon Dynamite [stick of dynamite emoji] #tapawingo # comedy # hope. “

“I haven’t seen ‘Napoleon Dynamite’, but that’s the first thing my son mentioned,” said Kathy “Kathy Jo” Dye, Seth’s mother. “He said, ‘Mum, it’s Napolean Dynamite. What!'”

Indie movie "Tapawingo" filming in Hopewell, Va. on June 10, 2021.

“It’s very exciting to see the Tri-Cities region come to the fore through the filming,” said Seth, from Hopewell.

“Tapawingo” tells the story of an apathetic eccentric who becomes the unlikely bodyguard of a misfit teenager and finds himself in the crosshairs of the town’s family of bullies.

In the coming-of-age comedy, Jon Heder was cast as the bodyguard of Oswalt, the misfit teenager. Heder is well known for playing the main character, a high school student, in the 2004 movie “Napolean Dynamite”, where he faces several dilemmas.

“They took control of the whole street,” Kathy explained. “If you lived here you could make your way to your house, but it was really pretty much blocked off … even all the side streets.

According to Seth’s mother, they used his neighbor’s entire house.

“I thought they were just spinning outside, but from what Seth and Jim said, they actually got inside the house,” Kathy said. “It will be interesting to see the movie when it comes out.”

When I asked Kathy if the experience seemed like a burden on the neighborhood, she replied, “No, it’s really funny because nobody really knew what was going on.”

Independent film "Tapawingo" filming in Hopewell, Va. on June 10, 2021.

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Jim reported that the ‘Tapawingo’ crew filmed for three days.

“They used the Stidham garage as a workshop for the kid. He built buggies or something,” Jim explained. “They used the whole grassy area and the house a lot.”

Neither Jim nor Seth saw anyone driving the buggy; they only saw him being pushed around.

Independent film "Tapawingo" filming in Hopewell, Va. on June 10, 2021.

“We were downtown and just took a tour through Mansion Hills,” said Kathy. “They’re still filming. All the trucks and everything is back in there. I don’t know which house (s) they use, but they had several streets blocked, so they still run regularly.”

Mansion Hills is located in Hopewell near two marinas and frontage on the Appomattox River.

Kathy said everyone seemed quite receptive to an independent film making in their neighborhood, even if they had to take a side street to get to their house.

“They think it’s kinda cute that it’s going on here,” added Kathy. “Of course ‘Lincoln’ was shot in Old Towne Petersburg and Richmond. I think they pick our area because it’s quite historic.”

"Tapawingo" being filmed at the Appomattox Regional Library in Hopewell, Va. on June 22, 2021.

The filming of “Tapawingo” was also spotted at Hopewell High School and Library. Library Facebook Post Has Started – Lights, Camera, Action! – and mentions other stars of the film: Billy Zane, Kim Matula, Amanda Bearse and Blake Clark.

“It was an interesting experience watching the team filming,” said Megan Kitchen, community relations coordinator for the Appomattox regional library.

Visit progress-index.com to read how a teenager from Goochland reacts to getting his first movie role in “Tapawingo”. Sawyer Williams is thrilled to be playing the role of Oswalt. Find out how the experience is a complete moment for his family.

Filming began in June in Hopewell, Petersburg, Richmond and other locations in central Virginia. Follow the independent film on Instagram @tapawingofilm.

– Kristi K. Higgins, aka The Social Butterfly columnist, is the Progress-Index’s Trending Topics and Food Q&A reporter. Do you have any advice on trends or local businesses? Contact Kristi (her, her) at [email protected], follow @KHiggins_PI on Twitter, and subscribe to progress-index.com.

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