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For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media – comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Local media is still his beat and he’s bringing his interest, curiosity, contacts and unique style to Cincinnati Public Radio and 91.7 WVXU. Contact John at johnkiese@yahoo.com.

'Turtles All The Way Down' filming at Fairfield Applebee's

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John Kiesewetter
Signs on Pleasant Avenue (U.S. 127) instruct crew and support staff to park at Rolling Hills Baptist Church, 5742 Pleasant Ave., on Wednesday morning May 4.

Hollywood rolled into the heart of Fairfield this week while the filmmakers search to cast stand-in roles.

Applebee's Grill + Bar in Fairfield's Village Green was closed for a third consecutive day for filming of Turtles All The Way Down, an adaptation of John Greene's novel about a 17-year-old Indiana girl dealing with mental illness.

The HBO Max movie starring Isabela Merced, Judy Reyes, Cree Cicchino and Felix Mallard was announced last week by Film Cincinnati.

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John Kiesewetter
Applebee's Grill + Bar's Facebook page says the restaurant will reopen 11 a.m. Thursday May 5.

Yellow signs at Rolling Hills Baptist Church, 5742 Pleasant Ave. (U.S. 127), directed the film and catering crew to park in the church lot. White vans were shuttling people Tuesday evening between the church and Applebee's, about a half mile north on Pleasant Avenue.

A yellow "SET" sign pointed to Applebee's across from Fairfield City Hall. A half dozen film production trucks and a Midwest Grip & Lighting Co. generator trailer were parked to the rear and side of the restaurant.

As of Wednesday morning, D. Lynn Meyers Casting was still looking for a paid stand-in for "a Cincinnati feature film." The Monday afternoon Facebook post said:

"Looking for a fully vaccinated, white, brunette adult to be a paid stand in on a Cincinnati feature film.  Looking for someone under 5 feet tall! Please send Photos, Age, Height and Vaccine Status to lynnmeyersextras2021@gmail.com with the subject line Stand In."

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John Kiesewetter
Some of the half dozen movie production trucks and trailers parked behind Applebee's Tuesday night.

Meyers also is looking for "Black, Hispanic, and Asian men ages 18-25 for a feature film (who) must be fully vaccinated. Please send photos, phone number and vax status to lynnmeyersextras2021@gmail.com with the subject line UNIVERSITY!"

Turtles All The Way Down was a 2017 bestseller by Greene, best known for writing The Fault in Our Stars, the Time magazine's No.1 fiction book for 2012 about teens with cancer.

Actress and filmmaker Hannah Marks is directing Turtles from a script written by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, the Emmy-nominated executive producers for NBC's This Is Us. They are executive producers along with Greene.

The movie, first optioned five years ago, is on a fast track, says the Hollywood Reporter. It "is expected to shoot at various locations throughout Greater Cincinnati during the next two months," the film commission announced April 26.

John Kiesewetter
White vans shuttled people from Rolling Hills Baptist Church a half mile to Applebee's Tuesday evening.

Merced (Instant Family, Sweet Girl, Transformers: The Last Knight, Greene's Let It Snow) stars as Aza, who is so obsessed about avoiding deadly bacteria that she gulps hand sanitizer.

Cicchino (And Just Like That) plays her best friend Daisy. Mallard (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Happy Together, Ginny & Georgia) plays Ava's love interest Davis. Judy Reyes (Scrubs, Better Things, black-ish, Blue Bloods, The Sopranos) portrays her mother.

Applebee's Facebook page says the restaurant will reopen at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 5.