Andie MacDowell and Aidan Quinn co-star in "The 5th Quarter," shot in Winston-Salem. / Special to the Citizen-Times
Tony Kiss | Asheville Citizen Times
ASHEVILLE — Andie MacDowell hasn't made too many movies in North Carolina. But the Asheville actress didn't have to travel very far to shoot her latest feature, “The 5th Quarter.”
The football drama was made in Winston-Salem and on the campus of Wake Forest University. It's the true story of how the 2006 Demon Deacons football team was inspired to win its championship season by the tragic death of a promising young athlete.
The movie opens today at the Beaucatcher Cinemas in Asheville. MacDowell said she hopes the independently released film will find an audience, both as entertainment and for its subtle but important messages of organ donation and safe driving by young people.
“It's such a powerful story,” MacDowell said. “And it's a beautifully written script. I am hoping that people will be inspired by it. This is such an unusual and special movie. But it's so small and the economy has had an impact on smaller movies.”
While “The 5th Quarter” may lack a big budget for advertising and promotion, it's loaded with heart. It's centered around the car-crash death of young Luke Abbate, which ripped his family apart but ultimately uplifted his football-playing brother, Jon. The Wake Forest team rallied around Luke's memory and ultimately played in the 2006 Orange Bowl.
The Abbates were on the set as the film was shot, and that proved to be an emotional experience, MacDowell said. The strongest moment was probably a scene where the family agreed to donate their brain-dead son's organs and then followed him down a hospital corridor to say goodbye, she said.
As those scenes were shot, “that was a depressing month,” she said. “I would just go back to my room (after filming) and write poems.”
Beyond “The 5th Quarter,” MacDowell will next be seen in the comedy “Monte Carlo,” alongside young stars Selena Gomez and Leighton Meester, and then in the remake of “Footloose,” with Dennis Quaid, Julianne Hough and Kenny Wormald.
“I think those films will be blockbusters, both of them,” she said. “It's good to be in movies with young people.”
MacDowell will also appear in the new TV series “Jane by Design,” on the ABC Family cable channel. Last year, she co-starred in the Fox series “Lone Star,” but the show was canceled after just two episodes.
“None of the stuff I shot was on ever on TV,” she said. “But I had a blast.”