CINCINNATI -- Motorists traveling Ohio 125 on Tuesday, April 4, could be inconvenienced as Hollywood comes to the Village of Bethel.
Intermittent road closures are expected as Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek and an entire film crew spend the day filming scenes for "The Old Man and The Gun."
The film also features Casey Affleck.
This is the first time anything like this has happened in the village, Mayor Alan Ausman said. An episode of “Mystery at the Museum” was recently filmed at the Grant Memorial Building. The subject was World Walker Steve Newman, a Bethel native.
It was amazing how the Robert Redford movie popped up, he said.
“The pastor of my church told me about it,” Ausman said.
The Bethel United Methodist Church, 402 W. Plane St., is serving as a parking area and commissary, of sorts, for the film crew. That’s how they learned about the movie, according to church secretary Vicki Holland.
“We’re pleased to host that here at our church,” she said. “I think it’s a big opportunity for the town of Bethel and we are excited to have this taking place in our town.”
Ausman admits to having mixed emotions about Tuesday. He’s pleased the village is being included in a major motion picture. Closure of Ohio 125 is causing him concern.
The Ohio Department of Transportation issued a road closure notification on Monday stating that Ohio 125 between North Main and North Charity streets will be closed 4 to 11 p.m. Tuesday, April 4. Detours will be posted and maintained by the Bethel Police Department.
Some filming is expected to happen in the morning hours at Wichard Oil, 518 Plane St.
The transformation of Wichard into Barksdale's Auto Repair began Monday, according to owner Mark Wichard. He and his sister, Sue Church, are co-owners of the business started by their grandfather in 1932.
A throw-back to the day of full-service gas stations, they still pump gas, check the oil and put air in the tires at Wichard.
A location scout dropped by about six weeks ago, looked around, snapped some photos and expressed an interest in using the gas station for the movie, Wichard said
The business will be closed all day April 4. They are expected to be at Wichard Oil filming for about four hours in the morning. Wichard and his family will have an opportunity to meet Redford, Spacek and others who are on set during filming, he said.
“It’s fun,” he said of the experience. “Everybody is really excited.”
Another filming location is the Midway Theater, 210 W. Plane St. It’s one of the only single-screen movie houses remaining in the state, Ausman said.
Like Wichard’s, the theater was built in the 1930s and originally seated about 400 people. It has changed hands several times over the years. Current owners are Julia and Duane Brandstetter.
“We’re excited that the little town of Bethel gets some action,” Duane Brandstetter said. The family is looking forward to meeting the stars.
"I think this could be something the town needs," Julia Brandstetter said. "I feel like the town needs a pick-me-up. This is great."
The theater hasn't presented movies for a paying audience for over one year. Brandstetter said she hopes to make improvements to the historic theater and present movies and live stage productions in the future.
During Tuesday's filming, she's hopeful of snapping photographs of the visiting Hollywood elite and prominently displaying them in the theater.