Proclaimed Hollywood Actor Bill Fichtner, who grew up in Cheektowaga, was on the elevator heading to Pettibones Grille in Coca Field recently, when a young lady asked if her group could take a photo with him.
“Absolutely,” said Fichtner, who posed in the lobby for photos from each of their phones.
After sitting and admiring the home of the Buffalo Bisons from inside the restaurant, he told his guests what it was like being there when the Rich Family, former Mayor Jimmy Griffin and Governor Mario Cuomo opened Pilot Field and every seat was filled 30 seasons ago.
“It was early April and you could feel this incredible buzz in the crowd because this masterpiece of a stadium was built in downtown Buffalo and this could possibly lead to something great down here,” he reminisced. “Being that it was April, though, it was cold and rainy. You won’t believe this, but late in the game, it even snowed.”
As if on cue, a waitress approached the table and said, “Mr. Fichtner, the table that you took a photo with, would like to buy you a drink.”
After thanking them with a wave and giving his order, he leans to his left and says, “that only happens in Buffalo, New York.”
Sara Shaak and Shayne Putzlocher are producers on Fichtner’s latest film, Cold Brook, which he co-wrote. Fichtner will make his directing debut, co-starring with Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy). All of the filming will be done here in Buffalo.
Fichtner, who has starred in many television shows and films from Heat to the Perfect Storm and Black Hawk Down, has never really left Buffalo although he now lives in Hollywood with his wife and two sons. They are all huge Buffalo Bills, Sabres and Bisons fans and last year when ESPN produced a 30-30 segment on the Buffalo Bills, they asked Fichtner to be its voice.
The extremely down-to-earth actor is in town doing pre-production work on Cold Brook.
Tim Clark, the Buffalo Film Commissioner and a close friend of Fichtner, said the actor has been working on Cold Brook “for a long, long time and it is finally coming to fruition here in Buffalo. It is exciting and it was very important to Bill that we make this film work here. This will be a very nice film project for Buffalo.”
It was very important to Bill that we make this film work here [in Buffalo].
Fichtner, who co-wrote the script with Cain DeVore, describes the drama as “the story of two ordinary guys in a small town who embark on an extraordinary adventure. It is a story about coming home; something everyone, everywhere has an innate desire to do.”
It appears the Maryvale High School graduate who grew up playing goalie in hockey games at Holiday Twin Rinks in Cheektowaga and the old Barn in Fort Erie, Ontario, is “coming home” to star in his debut as a director.
Shaak, who is producing the film with Fichtner under Anamorphic Media, said, “Cold Brook is a special project for our entire team. The support here in Buffalo for Bill and our project has been fantastic. Bill is a Buffalo guy and it is rewarding to all of us to help him bring his vision for Cold Brook into production in an area that means so much to him.”
The Executive Producers are David Guillod of Primary Wave, DeVore and Sean HusVar, an entrepreneur from Western New York whose successful business and artistic career has spanned 25 years. He founded Edgenet, Inc., was Chairman and Co-Founder of Chek.com (now Synacor) and most recently Co-Founded V.O.I.P. Communications provider Hover Networks and the Media and Entertainment Company, Ominous Press.
Shaak said the production company will have a major local announcement with Fichtner later this month to coincide with the beginning of filming.
Lead image: Bill Fichtner was recognized by a member of the opposing team at a recent Bisons game and he tossed a ball to him after saying, “You are a good actor.”