First lady in theaters



“First Lady” is coming to a theater near you.

The movie, filmed in Rappahannock and Culpeper counties by Nina May, will be released Feb. 13 - just in time for a family Valentine’s Day viewing.

“We did that on purpose, we’re saying it’s a date night for the whole family,” May said of the release date.

Filmed in Rappahannock and Culpeper counties in the fall of 2018, the romantic comedy is about a First Lady’s husband who dies in office and then stays on as First Lady for the Vice President.

The film was produced through May’s Renaissance Women Production company, which pairs young up and coming actors and actresses with seasoned veterans - in this production pairing young actresses like Jenn Gotzon and Missy Timme with film icons Stacey Dash (Clueless) and Nancy Stafford (Matlock). 

May said the early response to the movie led to it being distributed in nearly 70 films nationwide - many of them in this region. Regal, AMC and Cinemark theaters are playing the movie in Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, Richmond, Sterling, Potomac Mills, Manassas, Virginia Beach and some in the Maryland area as well. 

“People saw it and they really liked it and they said it should be in theaters - I said I agree with you,” May said. “There’s a need for family friendly romantic comedies in the theaters. It’s something everyone can go together to see, there’s no embarrassing moments. It’s just fun, it kind of harkens back to the old days of Hollywood.”

May said they are not in Culpeper yet, but she’s hoping if the film does well it will be shown at the Regal Cinema in town.  

“It totally makes sense to show it in Culpeper and a lot of people will come to it because they were in the movie,” she said. 

Stafford and May have been making the press rounds, talking to media members in an effort to highlight the family friendly aspect of the movie. Stafford said she loved her time in the area and filming with May and her crew. 

“It was incredible, it was so fun and we all became like a family,” Stafford said. “Nina creates this wonderful tone on set. We had seasoned veterans like myself and Corbin (Bernsen) and some newbies.”

Stafford said working with younger actors and actresses is one of the more fulfilling aspects of the job. 

“It’s part of the joy that we get to mentor the ones coming up,” Stafford said. “We kind of take them under our wing, I love doing it out there (Hollywood), and with Nina with Renaissance Women that’s exactly the model she’s created.”

May said during filming she loves connecting younger and more experienced actors and also introducing them to the Commonwealth. 

“Stacey (Dash) was saying she was driving through Virginia and she said ‘I’m going to tell my husband we’re going to move to Virginia,” May said. “It’s very rewarding. I keep telling people you don’t have to go to LA to film a movie. Virginia is such a great spot and it’s a right to work state and you don’t have to worry about unions.”

She said that the success of the movie already has her thinking of a sequel. 

“I already have the treatment done, I didn’t want to start on the actual script until we see how well this one does, we really could start filming tomorrow,” May said. 

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