University News

Two WIU Ag Students Involved with Production of New Movie, "At Any Price"

May 9, 2013

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MACOMB, IL – Two Western Illinois University students were involved with the production of the newly released movie, "At Any Price," starring Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron. According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), the drama is about a farming family's business in Iowa, which "is threatened by an unexpected crisis, further testing the relationship between a father and his rebellious son."

Although the film's farming operations are set in Iowa, the family farms of Julie Herrmann (Hinckley, IL), a senior studying agriculture, were used as the locations for the family's farmsteads featured in the movie. Parts of the movie were also filmed at another Western ag major's family's raceway. According to Brett Gerace (junior, DeKalb, IL), several scenes of the movie were filmed at Sycamore Speedway in Maple Park (IL).

"For an entire weekend, the stands at Sycamore Speedway were shoulder to shoulder with Zac Efron's fans, who wanted the opportunity to be extras in the movie," Gerace said. "It was an interesting experience to work so closely with a small section of the film. My family, who are the owners and operators of Sycamore Speedway, took part in many scenes. Look for me driving the official pace car, a convertible Mustang."

Herrmann noted that her family's farming operations—the movie was shot at both her family's farms in Hinckley and in Leland (IL)—as well as her family members, were very involved in the movie.

"They used our entire home for the movie as the characters' home. They were filming for about five months, but the crew and director were around the farm for about a year. My mom cooked Zac, Dennis and Kim [Dickens] breakfast on a few occasions and helped provide props for the rooms. My dad was utilized a lot in the filming to make sure the facts were accurate and the characters were portrayed in a tasteful way. We were able to watch almost all of the production of the film, whether it was at one of our farms or at Brett's family's raceway. During the filming, they let us view the monitor and hear the audio of the raw footage. My mom, dad, two sisters, brother and myself were all given parts in the movie, but due to editing, some of our parts have been cut and my brother, Keith, is the only one to keep his speaking part. We had a great time," Herrmann said.

According to an April 26 Chicago Tribune article by Movie Critic Michael Phillips, "At Any Price" was made for $4 million.

"[In] the new independent drama…written and directed by Ramin Bahrani…Quaid plays a third-generation Iowa farmer buckling under the pressures of expansion, competition, infidelity and a plot turn, involving the son played by Zac Efron, that leaves Quaid's character, Henry Whipple, with metaphorical and literal blood on his hands," Phillips explained.

"At Any Price" opened May 3 in Chicago and, according to the movie's Facebook page (, it will be "coming soon to a city near you."

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