Gunsmith Rob Harris goes where most of Hollywood can’t

Gunsmith, high-end weapon creator and gun cultural critic Rob Harris launched The Country of My Mind way back in 2006. His own experience moving to Southern California brought him to the Jefferson County, Kentucky,…

Gunsmith Rob Harris goes where most of Hollywood can’t

Gunsmith, high-end weapon creator and gun cultural critic Rob Harris launched The Country of My Mind way back in 2006. His own experience moving to Southern California brought him to the Jefferson County, Kentucky, area where he became fascinated with the culture of the Appalachian coal mining region. Some friends who had made their careers in the film industry called him to help them prepare for the onset of an onslaught of Hollywood projects shooting in Kentucky in the early ’90s. He began scouting the local woods and farmland with his wife, Jenny, working for The West Wing.

Rob and Jenny Harris were paired with a landowner to source and develop a two-plus acre plot for the production. The initial groundwork included hiring their friend Joe Rosengard to scout out surrounding areas, most notably around Glenville. Additionally, a trained L.V. Certified Professional and Realtor, Beth Miller, started procuring title insurance for the sale of the property. While this is standard industry procedure, having access to whole acreage as opposed to vacant grass lots was unorthodox for the industry. All to make for a nice backdrop.

They started filming in 1992, with Rob and Jenny serving as only technical managers in charge of casting, scouting and locations. The project proceeded through over 20 years of production, with material from a variety of mediums shot on location, including a 1990 90’s Time film still being used for a feature in 2002. The tenor of the project also changed after Tom Cruise, the main man behind the camera, departed at the end of 1995.

There was a time during the heyday of Gunsmoke, Goodyear to Gila Bend and countless Westerns that a gun-based movie could revolve around a gunfight. When Smith & Wesson directed The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight in 1964, the gunfights were front and center. That didn’t happen in the three major Westerns made at that time in Hollywood, of which they’re known.

The adaptation of the Civil War real estate-based novel The O.K. Corral is next on the list for this producer. They’re currently working on a film revolving around a group of 20th Century Fox River cowboys. The untold story of David Kane, the famous gunfighter, was penned by Stephen Dorff. They’ve just started to focus on shooting, which is believed to take place this fall. It’s a good thing for Kentuckians — it would have been very difficult to film on location, despite wonderful greenspace and surrounding beauty. Director Zack Snyder shot 14 days of his Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice on the Kentucky back road and charming small town, Mineville. That film grossed $867 million worldwide.

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