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Shoeless Joe Comes to Leonard

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By which I mean: D.B. Sweeney, who played Shoeless Joe Jackson in John Sayles's 1988 adaptation of Eliot Asinof's book Eight Men Out, and Leonard, Texas, a tiny town up in Fannin County. So happens that just as we were writing about all the TV shows shooting around town, locally based indie film production company Pathlight was signing up Sweeney to play a small-town Texas preacher for a film called Beyond the Farthest Star. Joining him in the cast: Lou Beatty Jr. and Renee O'Connor, the Houston native best known as Xena's sidekick.

Ben Robinson, who's handling PR for the production company, says the movie's set to begin shooting for four weeks on March 8 and will indeed use a mostly local cast and crew rolling cameras "in and around Dallas," as well as up in Fannin County. Producers had considered shooting in New Mexico or Louisiana, but stuck with North Texas for various reasons: Writer-director Andrew Librizzi is a native Texan, and, says Robinson, Pathlight took advantage of the state's recently implemented incentive package that pays a little extra percentage-wise to productions that film in "an underutilized or economically distressed area of Texas." Says Robinson, "There are more incentives to shoot in small towns." Which sounds like a line out of a Jim Thompson novel, unless it films in Oklahoma.

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Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.