WILD VIKING MAYHEM WITNESSED IN AMERICAN ALLEY: Downtown passersby were recently alarmed (and probably amused) when a horde of Vikings, in full battle array, began attacking each other with swords and mighty war-cries during Sunday brunch. The assault took place at the south end of American Alley, at about 9 in the morning on Sunday, July 23.
The presence of 22 camera-people, sound technicians, assorted barbarians, and a guy yelling “Cut” and “Action,” were a clue that this was a film shoot of some kind. That’s a guess that has been confirmed by Petaluman residents Anna and Don Bies.
They should know. They’re the ones who hired the Vikings.
It was all for a commercial the Bies’ are producing for the popular multi-player internet game “Clash of Kings.”
“Basically,” explains Don Bies of the commercial’s “plot,” “a guy gets a ride from an Uber driver, who picks him up at Wickersham Park, and turns out to be a Viking, then drives him around town and finally gets into a fight with other Vikings in the alley.”
As the Viking/actors prepare for another take of hitting each other with large metal objects, Anna Bies adds, “It’s been going very well. This alley is a perfect place for a Viking battle.”
Longtime FX artists on such films as “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (Anna), “Empire Strikes Back” (Don), “Galaxy Quest” (both), “Ghostbusters II” (Don), “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” (Anna), “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” (Don), and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” (both), the Petaluma couple has recently started their own production company.
“We’ve also been filming a short Victorian ghost story,” says Anna Bies. “Lots of fun, that project.”
Titled “Keep the Gaslight Burning,” the film recently shot its interiors in a large unoccupied Victorian on Washington St. Directed by costume fabricator Lou Elsey (“Doctor Who,” “Farscape”) and make-up effects artists Dave Elsey (who recently designed the Beast effects for Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”), the completed short film stars Markie Post (of television’s “Night Court”) and Oscar-winning monster maker Rick Baker (“Altered States,” Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video, “Hellboy”).
“I can’t tell you who Rick plays,” says Don Bies. “But it’s pretty cool.”
That film won’t see the light of day for several more months, though the “Clash of Kings” spot should be going viral on the internet within a few weeks.
“We love being able to bring work to Petaluma,” says Anna Bies. “Not only do we live here, but this is such a great place to film, because there are so many different eras and types of architecture. Petaluma looks quite good on film.”
David Templeton, Argus-Courier Staff