Josh Sumrall never knew the town he calls home would be such a hot spot for Hollywood directors.
Sumrall, the superintendent of Coyle Public Schools, has fielded a couple of calls the past few years from Tinseltown wanting to use the small Logan County town as a filming location.
Most recently, it was for the film “Stillwater,” starring Academy Award winner Matt Damon. When producers asked Sumrall if some of the Coyle facilities were available, he kindly obliged.
“A couple of months ago, the production company came to my office and said they were wanting to film the movie here in town down on Main Street and wanted to know if there was any way possible they could use our bus barn and our FFA show barn,” Sumrall said. “Of course, I told them I would work on them and they used it.”
Sumrall had been contacted several years ago for the same reason, so he admits he has gotten used to it a bit. Coyle was a filming location for “Children of the Corn: Runaway,” the 10th film in the horror saga.
“It is actually not the first time it has happened,” Sumrall said. “Seven or eight years ago, another movie filmed here in Coyle that was a sequel to “Children of the Corn.” They used our gas station downtown.”
“Stillwater,” which initially got buzz when Damon visited some places around the Payne County seat, including Modella Art Gallery downtown. The film, which will see Damon play an oil roughneck character, also has Academy Award nominee Abigail Breslin set to play Damon’s daughter.
Sumrall said the production lasted about a month, but the crew was very courteous the entire time and actually made downtown Coyle a bit nicer.
“They cleaned up now, actually leaving it cleaner than when they found it. It wasn’t a bad deal and gave our town more recognition and more money to the school. That money will help,” Sumrall said.
That money was to the tune of $4,000, which though Sumrall said isn’t much in the whole scheme of things, it is still $4,000 more than they had.
Although Sumrall didn’t see Damon when the movie was filming a few weeks ago, he got to see a lot of the behind-the-scenes production value of director Tom McCarthy.
McCarthy is also an Oscar winner, having won for his 2015 film, “Spotlight.”
Sumrall said it was really neat to see how it all gets put together, with the Bluejackets’ basketball gym being used as a staging ground for the entire crew.
“They used our gym and the parking lot outside to feed the cast and put the actor trailers out there,” Sumrall said. “I had a lot of those tours and talking to the people there and it was pretty neat to see that side of it.”
Sumrall joked that the small town of 325 fit a certain criteria for the two films and if that is to be Coyle’s calling card, then he will take what he can get from it.
“Like I told a couple of the news stations that the movie before needed a ghost town and this film, they made it look like a tornado hit,” Sumrall said. “I know our main street is not the most appealing, but I guess it looks like a ghost town and a tornado has hit it.
“Quite a few movies are filmed in the Guthrie area. I don’t know what the appeal is, I know we have some historical, older buildings and maybe Coyle fits into that mold.”