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Source: Mesabi Daily News
'Class Action' preparations on upswing
Linda Tyssen

Last Updated: Sunday, January 30th, 2005 10:51:39 PM
The movie will not be a factual documentary of what really happened
some years ago to women miners claiming sexual harassment at Eveleth

It will be a move — one inspired by the book “Class Action,’’ based on the
country’s first class action sexual harassment lawsuit — and it’s attracting
plenty of attention across the Iron Range. Filming will begin next month
with a cast that includes three Academy Award-winning actresses — Sissy
Spacek, Charlize Theron and Frances McDormand — along with Woody
Harrelson, Brad Henke and Jeremy Renner.
The filming won’t be done at the place where the harassment took place.
But Eveleth Mines (now United Taconite) was the scene of another
Hollywood movie, “Wildrose,’’ in the early 1980s.

Scouts have been in the area looking for locations — the Slovenian
National Home in Chisholm will be the scene of a first communion
reception complete with polka band.

“I’m really excited about this,’’ said Stan Hendrickson, president of the
Slovenian Home, or Slovenski Dom in Slovenian. “People don’t realize
how big this is.’’ Hendrickson said he might have a part in the movie.
“I told them I would like to have a romance scene with Sissy Spacek,’’
he joked. He said the movie people “fell in love with the ballroom’’
upstairs of the Slovenian Home. They have also obtained tapes of
such area polka musicians as Johnny Snidarich and the Chmielewski
Brothers and Slovenian Home house bands such as Tommy Judnick
and Matt Vorderbruggen, Hendrickson said during an interview last
week at the Slovenian Home.

It won’t be part of the movie, but Spacek will be learning how to
make apple strudel with the women of the Slovenian Home, experts
at making the delicacy dessert.

The movie people have also leased the old Eveleth city auditorium,
said Jackie Monahan-Junek, Eveleth city administrator. “They thought
it was a unique building and it is,’’ she said. There also is a possibility
of some filming at the Hippodrome, and a blast will be filmed at Ispat
Inland Mining.

A casting call for extras in the movie was held Saturday at the
Thunderbird Mall. It drew 3,000 to 4,000 movie hopefuls. Connie
O’Connell of Virginia was among those planning to try out. She
read the book, “Class Action,’’ by Laura Leedy Gansier and Clara
Bingham, based on the landmark sexual harassment suit of Lois
Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines. O’Connell said she remembered Jenson
used to live in Virginia’s Ridgewood area, close to where she grew
up as Connie Foschi. O’Connell’s father, the late Andrew Foschi,
worked at Eveleth Mines and O’Connell worked there as a student in 1979.

“What happened probably does cause a lot of conflict with people on
the Range, but it happens,’’ she said. A fellow surgical technologist
at Virginia Regional Medical Center, Jessica Herian, was also planning
to try out. “I wanted to be part of history on the Range. I’m excited,’’
Herian said. She said she was thinking of trying out to play a hockey
fan in the movie, but said, “I’m willing to do anything.’’

Spacek won an Academy Award for her portrayal of country music
legend Loretta Lynn in “Coal Miner’s Daughter.’’ Harelson, who first
claimed fame as Woody in “Cheers,’’ went on to star in such films
as “Anger Management,’’ “The Thin Red Line,’’ “Wag the Dog,’’ “White
Men Can’t Jump’’ and “Natural Born Killers.’’ Theron has starred in
many films including “The Legend of Bagger Vance,’’ “Hollywood
Confidential’’ and “Waking Up in Reno’’ and won an Oscar for her
role in “Monster.’’ McDormand won an Oscar for her police officer
role in “Fargo.’’ Henke played in “Gone in Sixty Seconds,’’ “The
Assassination of Richard Nixon’’ and many others. Renner
played in “S.W.A.T.’’ and other films.

Theron and Renner would star opposite each other as miner
Josie and coworker Bobby Sharp. According to information on
the Internet, “the two constantly disagree over whether a woman
should be legitimately working in such a place, and eventually
the arguments push her so far over the edge that she files a
class-action lawsuit.’’ McDormand will co-star with Theron.
Theron’s character has been sexually harassed and goes on
to become the first person ever to successfully sue for the
personal rights infringement. McDormand plays the “tough yet
tender woman who befriends Josie.’’

Last July the Iron Range Resources Board by an 8-4 vote supported
a 10 percent rebate for documented receipts of expenses during
filmmaking on the Iron Range.


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