The lights are off and quiet usually surrounds Jake and Dorothy’s Café after hours. However, the next few nights will be a different story.
As the last regulars pay their bills and file out of the old-time restaurant, one dozen creative minds will gather to film a unique story line in one of Stephenville’s historic places.
Clinton Rawls, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Arlington, is filming his thesis at Jake and Dorothy’s tonight through Tuesday because it was a perfect fit.
Loaded is a modern-day film that follows an older man who goes to a diner in the middle of the night and flashes money around because he wants to attract the wrong kind of attention, Rawls said.
“I was looking for the real classic diner look, but everything in the Metroplex is too nice or new. It just looks a little bit too fancy,” he said.
Rawls was informed of Jake and Dorothy’s classic diner when one of his professors asked if he had ever visited the local favorite in Stephenville. Rawls had not, but he drove down and scoped the place out.
“I really love the down home hole-in-the-wall feel (of Jake and Dorothy’s) and that is what I was trying to find,” Rawls said. “I immediately fell in love with the place and I thought it looked terrific.”
Rawls is from a small town in south Texas called Bunah. He was looking for a similar setting, which he found in Jake and Dorothy’s.
“I feel like I am going home,” he said. “It reminds me very much of Bunah.”
Rawls, who also teaches film at UTA, will bring a crew of approximately 12 to 15 people including actors, a director of photography, a gapher (lighting assistant) and a camera operator. He said spectators and extras are welcome but he does not want a parade of people because the film is intimate.
“We are actually filming at night because we don’t want to interrupt business. (Spectators and extras) would be more than welcome to come, we would love to have them, but we don’t want too many people because it could get in the way. We want to control the set as much as possible,” Rawls said.
The film will consist of four main actors including John Davies who has appeared in several Hollywood films and the television series Prisonbreak.
“We are really lucky to work with him,” Rawls said.
Once complete, the short film will appear in several film festivals and other small venues. It will also be available at the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce for local viewing around January. Rawls said he will not charge money for the copies of the movie that he releases to the chamber.