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Cast embraces 'Adri' and Big Stone Gap

November 30th, 2013 1:00 pm by Greg Kress, community contributor

Cast embraces 'Adri' and Big Stone Gap

Adriana Trigiani shares updates and photos with her fans through her Facebook page ( This one was described as 'A little taste of what's to come in the 'Big Stone Gap' movie.' Photo by Anthony Platt.

The warmth and hospitality on display in Big Stone Gap wasn't wasted on the film's stars. In fact, it was embraced - and returned. 

To capture their side of the experience, we enlisted the help of Greg Kress - a high school classmate and lifelong friend of Adriana Trigiani. Greg, who has a small speaking role in the film, worked "behind the scenes" to help us put together a special tribute to "Adri" and the real people of Big Stone Gap through the eyes of the cast members who will bring the story and its characters to life on the big screen. They were more than happy to oblige.

Patrick Wilson (Jack Mac)
"Adriana approached directing the film like she does life... with optimism, passion and focus. 'Big Stone Gap' will remain as one of the most personally successful and emotionally-rewarding films of my career. Adri was able to be both our fearless creative leader, and (be) collaborative at the same time. Adri knew the only way to make this film true to its heart was to shoot it in Big Stone. Their support made it possible, and reflects exactly what Adri has been writing about for years: that the people of Big Stone are full of love, laughter, and southern soul."

Jenna Elfman (Miss Iva Lou Wade)
"I LOVED my time in Big Stone Gap for three specific reasons: 1) The PEOPLE of Big Stone Gap! So kind, enthusiastic and friendly. It was a refreshing change from living in Hollywood. 2) The movie. I loved my character, how she was written, the clothes I got to wear and working alongside my super-talented fellow actors; 3) Adriana Trigiani. I have never met a more charismatic, open, humorous, talented, vivacious and confident woman in my life. She is my new lifelong friend."

Paul Wilson (Lyle Makin)
"As kids, my brother and I spent many years fishing in the ponds, catching crawdads in the creek and getting to know the families and people who make Big Stone a big part of our lives. Now, to be able to come back and celebrate the people and the community onscreen with this talented cast and crew, and stay in our family home, makes 'Big Stone Gap' the biggest memory of my life."

Whoopi Goldberg (Fleeta)
"Working on 'Big Stone Gap' was a dream come true for so many reasons. When Adri told me she had me for the role of Fleeta 10 years ago, I said 'yes, yes, yes!' You see, most of the work I've done in my career, ('Jumping Jack Flash' written for Shelly Long) ('Sister Act' written for Bette Midler) was written for other actors. So when someone says, 'I wrote this character just for you. I don't have the money to do it yet, but I want you,' that's special. For 10 years, whenever we would run into each other, she would say 'I don't have the money yet but don't forget!' Then in 2013, she said 'I got the money; let's make this movie!' I made The View aware that I was taking a bit of time off and went to BSG to shoot. I had a great time meeting the folks of BSG. An American mining town that, like so many towns in the USA, is not given the respect it should be given. I met teachers, former miners, and had some of the best Mexican food ever! None of it would have happened if not for Adri,and the town and the people of BSG. I TREASURE Adri."

Mary Pat Gleason (Aunt Alice Lambert)
"It was a thrill to be a part of Adriana's dream of shooting her movie script 'Big Stone Gap' in her hometown of Big Stone Gap. She is so dearly loved and respected in her hometown and they all welcomed us like old friends. It is a huge job to write a film and maybe even a bigger job to direct one. Adriana was spot on for all the challenges she faced. It's all so stressful and she handled it all with great grace and brilliant humor. She put a truly wonderful cast together because everyone loves her and people were happy to say yes to her. I think there is no greater joy than working with dear friends, and (working) on a project of the heart doubles the pleasure."

Judith Ivey (Nan Bluebell Gilliam MacChesney)
"Simply being with Adri is a great time! No matter where you are! Having read the book, being in the real Big Stone Gap was special! To be asked to share this time with her was not only flattering, but history in the making! She rocks!"

John Benjamin Hickey (Theodore Tipton)
"Working on the film version of 'Big Stone Gap' in the very town the movie is named after has been one of the great joys of my career. Everything about it - the great 70s clothes I got to wear (newfound appreciation for bell bottoms and polyester), the daily soup special at the Dari Delite; to the wonderful, wise and warm citizens of the area; to, most importantly, the author of this entire experience, our writer/director Adriana Trigiani - has been Big Stone Fun every minute I was there. Thank you Adri! Love, John Benjamin Hickey."

Erika Coleman (Pearl Grimes)
"One day I was free for a couple hours so I decided to go to set and watch. When we started shooting, I looked up and happened to notice Adri crying, the assistant director was holding her hand for reassurance and the director of photography was patting her on the back. I realized she was crying tears of joy as she saw her dream coming to life. The true emotion on set brought me to tears. From the whole Big Stone Gap family, to her readers, to the movie production, and the fans, we are all here to support her, and we are all so inspired by her courageous and loving spirit. My only hope is that the struggles and successes captured on film can portray the very real experiences that brought Adri's real story to life to share with the world. I love you Adri, thank you for believing in me!!!!"

Mary Testa (Zia Maria Luisa)
"Adri is a dear friend, a monumental talent, and one of the most generous people I know. She has been so kind and generous and supportive of me for so long, I cannot imagine not being a part of her film. It was an honor to be there, and the people of Big Stone Gap are completely adorable. I was only there for a a few days, and only shot one day, but I had a complete ball and Big Stone Gap is beyond beautiful."

Jasmine Guy (Leah Grimes)
"Adriana is a gifted writer and director and it is testament to her sense of loyalty and commitment that she had all of us in her film... all of Big Stone Gap as well! It was great filming in a town where we were embraced and so well taken care of."

Ricky Wiles (Earl Pervis)
"Adri, a refreshing and energetic person to work with. Always cares about her cast and motivates them to a higher standard. I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to work with her. I can't imagine how my life would have been without this movie. Can't wait for the next one. Good luck and many blessings to you, Adri."

Editor's note: If Ricky's name isn't as familiar as the others, it's because Ricky went to school with Adriana. They reconnected at a reunion party where she decided to cast him for the part. He works for Pepsi Cola in Norton.

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