'Sweet Williams' Will Showcase Churchill Downs, Louisville

By Justin Wilfon

(LOUISVILLE, July 27th, 2004, 6 p.m.) -- These days you could call Louisville Tinsel Town. The big budget movie "Elizabethtown" has been filming in the area for weeks, and now an independent film is shooting here as well. It's called "Sweet William," and crews will be shooting all week on the backside at Churchill Downs. WAVE 3's Justin Wilfon Reports.

"It's about these three guys that are best friends that are in graduate school, and it's kind of them coming to terms with not only who they are but who they have the potential to be," says star and writer Bruce Marshall Romans.

Romans now lives in California, but grew up in Louisville.

As the son of a horse trainer and the brother of a jockey, Romans says horse racing was a perfect fit for his movie. "It's actually a fictional story, but I've used a lot of the backdrop from my personal life to tell the story."

Romans says the film took four years to produce. "It's a thrill to come up with an idea for a project ... write it ... get all the people on board to produce it and to make the film and then to bring it back to Louisville and have it shot in my hometown," Romans says.

"Sweet William" director J. Miller Tobin, who has directed episodes of TV's, "CSI," says Louisville has been a great place to film. "Actually it's been amazing. Louisville's a wonderful city. I've been pleasantly surprised. People have been incredibly supportive."

The film is the latest in a long line of movies to be shot at Churchill Downs. The first was way back in the early 20th century. "The movie was shot and it was called 'The Garrison Finish.' Well, since then there have been a number of Derby-related movies, but what we're really excited about now is that they're showing horse racing beyond the Kentucky derby," said Churchill Downs spokesman Tony Terry.

The movie will also provide excellent exposure for the community. "This will be more or less like a big commercial for the city of Louisville and Churchill Downs, and that's a great thing," Terry said.

"Sweet William" also stars Frank Langella, from the movies "Dave" and "Dracula," and Laura Allen from the movie "Mona Lisa's Smile" and the hit USA series "44-hundred."

Online Reporter: Justin Wilfon

Online Producer: Michael Dever