During last week’s Chesterfield Board of Supervisors meeting, County Administrator James J.L. Stegmaier announced that a feature film would be shot in part at Henricus Historical Park in Chester as well as Jamestown and a couple of other Virginia locations. Mission City Productions is filming a full-length feature film called “To Have and To Hold,” from early September through mid-November. The crew is expected to be on location at Henricus between Sept. 21 and Oct. 14, although Charles Grant, acting director of operations for Henricus, said they could take a little longer as movie shoots normally do.
Although there is no word on Mission City pursuing extras, they are seeking a crew and especially production assistants. The crew is expected to work through Thanksgiving. The production onsite at Henricus begins after the park signature event Publik Days has wound down. Officials at Henricus say there will not be disruption to that event.
“We’re excited about it,” said Grant. “It will have a significant economic affect on the area.”
The per day charge for the park for the days that the film company will be using the park has yet to be determined.
“I know the [Henricus] Foundation will be nicely compensated,” said Grant.
“We’ve had to block off several weeks for filming but there is still some time in there for our student field trips. I suspect the kids will enjoy seeing all the movie equipment set up.”
The movie is a colonial-period love story based on the book by Mary Johnston. Henricus’ replicated structures, which depict the 1611 Citie of Henricus, is an obvious choice for filming Grant said.
“When the location manager saw our site, he said to me, ‘if you were better looking, I’d kiss you,’” Grand said.
Johnston’s book begins with a description of what life must have been like in Jamestown’s early days.
“The work of the day being over, I sat down upon my doorstep, pipe in hand, to rest awhile in the cool of the evening. Death is not more still than is this Virginian land in the hour when the sun has sunk away, and it is black beneath the trees, and the stars brighten slowly and softly, one by one. The birds that sing all day have hushed, and the horned owls, the monster frogs, and that strange and ominous fowl (if fowl it be, and not, as some assert, a spirit damned) which we English call the whippoorwill, are yet silent. Later the wolf will howl and the panther scream, but now there is no sound. The winds are laid, and the restless leaves droop and are quiet. The low lap of the water among the reeds is like the breathing of one who sleeps in his watch beside the dead.
The next event at Henricus will be the Dauber Dash on Aug. 6. Then a performance by the Richmond Symphony on Sept. 11 commemorating what has become known as 9/11. Both events are a precursor to Publik Days on Sept. 19 – 20. See www.henricus.org  for more information on upcoming events.