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Bernsen eyes Ceres for movie
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Actor Corbin Bernsen, seen here shooting scenes for Christian Mingle in Turlock in 2013, is expected to shoot scenes in downtown Ceres and Turlock for his next film, Life of a Dog. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR /Courier file photo

Actor-producer Corbin Bernsen was in Ceres recently scouting for at least one location for his upcoming film, "Life of a Dog."

Sources say Bernsen - who produced Christian Mingle in Turlock in 2013 - checked out the holding cell at the Ceres Police Department and is planning to use it sometime shortly after production rolls into Stanislaus County this week.

Bernsen, who is best known for his role as divorce attorney Arnold Becker on the NBC TV series "L.A. Law" that ran from 1986 to 1994, is starring in the movie. He has been a vast number of movies, including "Major League," "Major League II," and "Gentle Ben." He also appeared in "General Hospital," "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Ryan's Hope" and an episode of "The Waltons." He also wrote the script of the upcoming film.

"It's my understanding that they're still going to be filming there," said Matt Garman, a local videographer associated with the project.

"He's a pretty energetic, excited guy so as he was looking at the police station he was bouncing several ideas off of people about different things that they can do in addition to the jail cell but I don't know how many of those will actually pan out."

Garman said Bernsen is returning to Stanislaus County because he enjoyed the cooperation of the area during Christian Mingle "and found it a pleasant place to work."

Ceres Chamber of Commerce President Renee Ledbetter was contacted by Garman about possible locations to film in Ceres. Since a Turlock Police cell was not available, Garman thought about contacting Ceres.

Bernsen will be directing and starring as the main character who is an older gentleman being pressured to sell his older home which is being crowded out by newer housing. "He's kind of the last property owner holding out against that and his wife is killed in a hit-and-run accident and he thinks that perhaps there was some foul play involved to get him to sell his property," said Garman. In the film, Bernsen's character gets thrown in the slammer after losing his cool at the local bank.

Garman said the house scenes will be shot in Turlock. The hit-and-run crash scene may be filmed in Ceres, said Michael Everett, a producer in the film and Turlock Film Commission.

"I think the overwhelming majority (of the film) is going to be filmed in Turlock," said Garman.

Everett said Bernsen's wife in the film gets killed in the beginning but appears a lot in the movie because "he sees her a lot," said Everett.

A dog trained for film work will have a prominent role in the movie, he added.

Filming is scheduled to start today and wrap up by July 12. He is unsure when the film crew will be in Ceres.

Everett said fewer films are being shot in the Los Angeles area because of the difficulties in dealing with government agencies. As a result, many production companies turn to areas that are easier to do business in. The local economy also reaps an economic benefit.

Although "Life of a Dog" is lower budget than Christian Mingle, Everett said that doesn't mean lesser quality.

"It's a simpler movie. Eighty percent of the movie is in the house just Corbin and that dog and his wife. When you say low budget some people think lower quality. The quality's right up there with any other films. It's just not a lot of locations. Christian Mingle we had like 12, 14 locations. This time we only have two or three."

The new film has flown "a little bit" under the radar because there was no need to advertise for extras. Christian Mingle attracted 1,200 to 1,400 to show up for auditions in Turlock.