Local business soon painting Hollywood red

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

Years from now, Huntington, W.Va. residents will freeze-frame their DVD of “We Are … Marshall,” the movie being filmed in their city.

“You see? That’s me!” they’ll say. “Right there! That sliver of purple about 10 feet away from Matthew McConaughey, that’s my shirt!”

The entire city has been set buzzing about the film, which deals with the 1970 plane crash that claimed the lives of almost all of the members of the Thundering Herd football team.

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But one Ironton resident won’t need the clicker to point out his contribution, even though you’ll never see his mug on screen.

Theatre goers will see the paint of Ed Billing, owner of Wallpaper and Moore, on several sets for the movie, including covering the home of Red Dawson, the Marshall assistant coach depicted in the film by “Lost” star Matthew Fox.

Billing said that his Ironton business was chosen because it was the only local distributor of Benjamin Moore-brand paint.

“They prefer to use Benjamin Moore paint, because of the quality and the color range, then we had to find a product for them to use because they don’t like a gloss,” Billing said. “At least one of the colors they tried wouldn’t work when they did the camera test, so they had to change the color. So you run into that sometimes too.”

Billing said that the crew, headed up by director McG, had painted some parts of the MU student center a golden color.

“I’m not sure if that was the look back then, or just because they say it really makes things look good on camera, because they said they used the same color when they filmed ‘Hoosiers.’”

Although he said the unexpected bump in business has been nice, Billing said that it has taken some adjustment, getting used to showbiz.

“The only drawback to doing it is that everything is just a total rush with them,” Billing said. “They even paid quite a bit of an extra fee to guarantee that some paint would get here Tuesday, because they have to have it done before the ‘talent’ shows up, as he calls them.”

What makes the time element more crucial is that the house must not only be painted, but aged appropriately.

“It’s funny, they’ll paint it, then they’ll age it to make it not look brand new,” Billing said. “Then of course when they’re done, they have to take it back to how the homeowner originally had it.”

When all is said an done, and Billing’s paint is taking a starring role in the film, will he be left with a standing testimony to his contribution? Perhaps his name in lights when the credits roll?

“No, I doubt that,” Billing said with a laugh.