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Bernsen films at Ceres PD
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Corbin Bernsen - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Filming of a low-budget Hollywood film took place at the Ceres Police Department on Saturday, bringing actor-producer Corbin Bernsen and crew to Ceres.

Ceres Police Department Sgt. Trenton Johnson confirmed that scenes for "Life of a Dog" were shot inside the Police headquarters and in the parking lot. The production is expected to come into Ceres this weekend.

Sgt. Johnson said officers also participated as background actors in scenes shot in Turlock.

This is the second film Bernsen has shot in Stanislaus County. He produced Christian Mingle in Turlock in 2013. Perhaps best known for his role as divorce attorney Arnold Becker on the NBC TV series "L.A. Law" running from 1986 to 1994, Bernsen will be starring in his movie. He also appeared in "Major League," "Major League II," "Gentle Ben," in "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Ryan's Hope." He also wrote the script of the upcoming film.

Matt Garman, a local videographer associated with the project, 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."

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 are being 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.

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 wrap up by July 12.

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.