‘Norman Rockwell feel’ earns Belmont a movie

by Lauren Odomirok


BELMONT – Several months ago, the Charlotte Regional Film Commission advised Hallmark Movie Channel that Belmont would be the perfect location for a movie set inside one of Norman Rockwell’s iconic paintings.

Young Trey Cole (Dash Pledger-Levine, left) finds guidance from Charlie Shuffleton (Danny Glover, right), a father figure who taught him the value of family in the Hallmark Movie Channel film “Norman Rockwell’s Shuffleton’s Barbershop.” (Courtesy of Fowzia Iranpur)

“They liked our quaint, historic-looking downtown, with our older buildings that were well taken care of,” Assistant City Manager Adrian Miller said. “The location scout told me that Belmont had a ‘Norman Rockwell feel,’ and I took that as a compliment.”

Filming for “Norman Rockwell’s Shuffleton’s Barbershop,” based on a 1950 American realism oil painting of the same name, began in March and centered on the now-closed, rust-red brick of Margaret’s Beauty Shop on North Main Street.

The film, which premiered June 1, celebrates the 50-year relationship Rockwell had with Hallmark Cards, as his artwork often found its way to their greeting card covers.

In “Shuffleton’s Barbershop,” four-time Emmy nominee Danny Glover plays Charlie Shuffleton, a small-town Georgia barber who runs a business bursting with community news and gossip.

Belmont Pharmacist Trish Williamson said her mother, Margaret Thrower, ran a beauty shop at the filming location for more than 60 years, until she passed away last November.

“It was sad in a sense because mother had the shop there for so many years; she lived to be 97,” Williamson said. “Back then, it was across from the Belk store and the Five and Dime.”

Thrower rented the shop from a friend, Martha Taylor, through what was originally just a verbal contract.

“That’s how things were done back then. You could leave your doors wide open and go out and play,” she recalled. “Mother had one of the original buildings and was very sociable just as far as getting to know people. She loved her work, she really did.”

Williamson is pleased that the movie will keep with the spirit of the work her mother enjoyed all her life.

In the movie, Shuffleton acts as a mentor to Trey Cole, played by Austin Stowell, who frequents the shop as a boy and grows up to be a famous country musician.

When Cole eventually returns home, he has to come to terms with the death of Shuffleton and a brother killed during military service. He must also try to reconcile with his bitter sister-in-law, played by Kayla Well, who has been left alone to raise her son, and his father, General Wes Cameron, played by Brett Rice, who was distant during Cole’s childhood.

Beyond Margaret’s Beauty Shop, Miller said the film crew also used a small, vacant lot on Main Street to film a concert scene and set up their equipment at a local church and general store.

“The city really enjoyed hosting the production folks, and we had a lot of residents come out and work as extras in the movie,” he said.

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