Rain in the Mountains Press Coverage
"Actor in local independent film suffers stroke"
August 23, 2005
The Centralia Chronicle
By Eric Schwartz

Actor Steve "Red Heart" Pierre, who landed the lead role in an independent film that was partially filmed in Lewis County, is in stable condition at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia after experiencing a stroke Saturday. Pierre, along with six crew members and several other actors, was staying at a lodge near Olympia early Saturday morning when he was found stretched out on the floor, unable to move or speak coherently, said John Ott, the crew's public relations director.

By late Saturday evening, Pierre was in fair condition, and was able to communicate, though only by way of a letter board on which he arranged the letters to say "GO MAKE MOVIE," according to a post on the crew's Web site.

Ott said that filming for the movie, tentatively titled "Rain in the Mountains," will indeed continue and Pierre will still fill the lead role, as the film is already 90 percent finished.

"(The director) has rewritten the few scenes Steve had left, and the main story of the movie remains intact," said Ott. "We are thankful we were able to get as much as we did of Steve and his wonderful performance."

The crew, led by Olympia native and New York University graduate Joel Metlen, is filming "Rain in the Mountains," a comedy that is essentially the story of an American Indian man who, in an attempt to be a good father, tries to teach his son the ways of his ancestors, although he knows nothing of those ways.

Pierre, whose only previous movie experience was as an extra in "Dante's Peak," plays the lead role of the father, Eric Smallhouse.

As a member of the Kalispel tribe of Eastern Washington, Pierre gained a reputation as an activist years ago when he traveled to Washington, D.C., where he lobbied to save his and other reservations, according to his online biography.

He and the crew descended on Centralia Aug. 9, shooting scenes on the corner of Tower Avenue and Magnolia Street, and later in Galvin.

Centralia is just one of the many Western Washington locations chosen by Metlen and co-director Christine Sullivan, who is also an NYU graduate, as sites for the film, which is expected to be finished early next year.

The six-person crew has already filmed scenes in Capitol Forest, the Mima Prairie Glacial Heritage Preserve, an old saloon at Porter, and various other locations in and around Olympia.