Buffalo fans of the movie Marshall" came ready for their closeup.
The feature film premiered in Buffalo Saturday night as part of the Buffalo International Film Festival. It depicts the early life of Thurgood Marshall, a civil rights icon who became the country's first African-American Supreme Court Justice.
The movie was filmed at locations throughout Buffalo, which stood in for the 1940s Connecticut of Marshall’s younger days.
"Marshall" drew a sell-out crowd to the restored North Park Theatre on Hertel Avenue. Some wanted to see how the city would look on the big screen. Some, who worked as extras on the film, wanted to see if they could catch a glimpse of themselves. Still others simply wanted to see the film on its own merits and hear from its producers, Chris Bongirne and Jonathan Sanger, who were in town for the screening and planned to speak afterward.
Diane and Herbert Cadle had dinner at nearby Mes Que before taking in the show. Herbert works at City Hall, where some of the movie was shot, and was present for much of the filming. Diane told how she attended a newly desegregated school in West Virginia as a 5th grader in the 1950s. She is also a member of Girlfriends Inc., a black women’s social and charitable organization that was incorporated by Marshall himself.
Judson Price, 86, said that he was in one scene as a milkman and in another as a courtroom spectator. He said people working on the film had period clothing available for him and other extras, but, he joked, “I’m so old, I wore my own clothes."
Having lived through such important civil rights milestones, he said it’s difficult at his age to watch as the world seems to be backsliding in regard to race relations.
“I think the young people just don’t know the problems,” he said. “They just don’t know their history.”
Zanete Shadwick, 10, of Buffalo, played a character named Irene Lancaster opposite star Chadwick Boseman. She had good things to say about the movie star, who is known for his roles as Jackie Robinson in the film "42" and James Brown in “Get On Up.”
During one scene filmed at a Buffalo home, she said, she suddenly got a bad headache.
“He picked me up in his arms and carried me outside for some fresh air,” she said.
Bruce Andrews of West Seneca loaned his 1937 Packard formal sedan to the film crew. It was used to chauffeur co-star Kate Hudson in the movie.
“Right now it’s the most famous car in the city,” he said.
Bob Manke of Pendleton, who attended the screening with his wife, Barb, loaned his 1935 Plymouth. At one point they dressed him up like co-star Josh Gad in order to stand in for him as a driver.
“This is once in a lifetime. It’s something I never dreamed of happening,” said Manke.
"Marshall" opens nationwide next week.