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DeKalb County residents flock to local screening of 'At Any Price'

DeKALB – When several local extras who appeared in “At Any Price” went to go see the movie for the first time, they had the hardest time focusing on the story itself.

Linda and Kevin Herrmann, who were extras along with their children, saw
the movie Friday at the Carmike Market Square 10 on 2160 Sycamore Road; the local screenings will continue this week.

After watching the movie, Kevin Herrmann said he was more focused on noticing all the familiar DeKalb County locations in the background.

“It’s kind of hard to watch it as a normal movie,” Kevin said.

Karyn Petersen, whose son Matthew has a speaking role in the movie, had the same problem. She said she’ll be watching the movie multiple times later to catch all the local restaurants and shops in the background.

“To see your community immortalized on film is incredibly special, and not something people can claim everyday,” said Debbie Armstrong, executive director of the DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“At Any Price,” was filmed in 2011 in DeKalb County, and features locations from the area including the First Lutheran Church, Sycamore Speedway and the Junction Eating Place. Linda Herrmann said the filmmakers also had used her family’s home in Hinckley for the movie, along with their farming equipment and farm land.

“I don’t think nationally it’s gotten credit it was done in Illinois,” Linda said.

“At Any Price” was shot in Illinois but its story is set in Iowa. The movie involves Henry Whipple, played by Dennis Quaid, and his son Dean, played by Zac Efron. Henry wants his son to take over the family farming business when he retires, but Dean would rather become a professional race car driver.

Armstrong said she liked the dark and complicated roles Efron and Quaid played.

“I think you see why the two characters had such a complex relationship,” Armstrong said.

Linda Herrmann said she felt Quaid’s performance was a little hammy but she thought he and Efron did a great job overall. She didn’t think it was about farming. Kevin Herrmann thought the movie was more about family controversies.

The film was directed by Ramin Bahrani, who directed award-winning movies including “Man Push Cart,” “Chop Shop” and “Goodbye Solo.”

“At Any Price,” is a lot like Bahrani’s previous movies, Armstrong said. His work is introspective, and he seems interested in the dynamic of families and their past histories, she said.

Armstrong said she didn’t really have any expectations before seeing the movie. She knew beforehand the movie’s locations and that it had plot twists. Armstrong said she had to go to a second showing to take it all in once more.

“I was glad to see a lot of local people and seeing their names in the credits,” Armstrong said. “That’s part of the reason I need to see it again.

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