From Boone to ‘Barbershop’
Ed Pilkington is a man of the theater.
Whether performing, directing or teaching, Pilkington is a mainstay both behind and in front of the main stage curtain.
He is as essential to community productions in Watauga County as the legacy of Daniel Boone is to the local outdoor drama, “Horn in the West,” which he, too, directed for 20 seasons.
After spending 30 years teaching theater at Appalachian State University, Pilkington decided in 2001 that it was time to return to the theater.
Pilkington found a passion for the theatrical arts at a young age, while performing in “The Lost Colony” and growing up in Goldsboro. After studying at Ithaca College in New York, Pilkington acted in select shows off of Broadway, before relocating for a position at Elon University. He came to Boone in 1970 and “has never left.”
It wasn’t until lately, however, that he felt the calling to cast his talents in the film industry. With a casting call for the Hallmark Hall of Fame production, “Shuffleton’s Barbershop,” Pilkington contacted a former student at a Charlotte talent agency to line up a meeting.
While on the set, Pilkington said he found instant chemistry with the director and fell in love with the film.
“The director and I fell in love with each other,” Pilkington said. “It was great. I had a wonderful time.”
The film is your typical Hallmark tearjerker, he said, with a happy ending that comes together after the main characters experience their own trials and tribulations through a poignantly written storyline.
Essentially, the movie follows the coming-of-age and subsequent redemption of a young man who leaves his hometown after a colossal falling-out with his father, who he blames for the death of his mother, Pilkington said.
The man heads for Nashville, Tenn., where he lands super stardom, but soon realizes the unsettling feeling that he must settle matters with his estranged father.
When he returns home, the protagonist is saddened by news that the man who once acted as a surrogate father to him has died, and his barbershop now owned by Noah, who Pilkington plays in the film.
“It’s one of those Hallmark Kleenex movies,” Pilkington said. “Hallmark is really in love with this film.”
The film stars Danny Glover, who plays the role of Charlie Shuffleton.
In his short time as an actor in the movie industry, Pilkington has picked up on some striking and subtle differences between stage acting and films.
For stage productions, actors rehearse and perform in linear fashion, meaning they put on the show from beginning to end in two hours or less.
Filmed productions, on the contrary, are produced over a much longer period of time and done in smaller fragments.
“You don’t (film) a movie from beginning to end,” Pilkington said. “In this particular film, they shot the last scene of the show on the first day, the middle part of the movie on the second day, and the first scene was shot on the last night of production. They pick and choose which shots they want.”
“Shuffleton’s Barbershop” premieres on the Hallmark Channel at 9 p.m. June 1.
Pilkington said he owes a “special thank you” to screenwriter and producer John Wilder.
A special screening of the movie will be held at Alliance Bible Fellowship from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, June 7. The public is welcomed to attend.