Cars featured in new Eastwood film on display in Redlands

( Redlands Daily Facts, 11/19/11)

Kristina Hernandez, Staff Writer

Posted: 11/19/2011 05:03:09 PM PST

REDLANDS - It's not every day that one could say Oscar-nominated actor Leonardo DiCaprio rode in their 1929 Ford Model A Fordor.

But for Riverside resident Tom Spurlin, he can.

His car was one of a 100 vintage Ford models featured in Clint Eastwood's new film, "J. Edgar," starring DiCaprio as former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

A member of the Paradise Valley Model A Club, Spurlin and three additional members of the group - and their cars - spent several days in the Los Angeles area on location to shoot pivotal scenes for the film which also stars Naomi Watts and Dame Judi Dench.

"We went down to Olvera Street and shot there. That sold us. We were in the movie from there on and for as long as they wanted us," Spurlin said Saturday as he stood next to his car outside of the Krikorian Theater with other car enthusiasts from the group looking to show off their vintage vehicles before catching a screening of the film later that afternoon.

Established in 1960, the club has 100 members from throughout the Inland Empire who share a love of vintage vehicles and the style of the early 20th Century.

Members with vehicles featured in the film were contacted by a former club president who asked if they'd like to be part of the shoot.

Spurlin jumped at the opportunity, he said.

Along with their cars, the Riverside resident and fellow member Glenn Stewart of San Bernardino also served as extras in the film, Spurlin said.

But at a price - "It cost me a beard of 40 years," he replied, laughing.

Organized by member Catherine Alford, the activity served as an opportunity for the four vehicles to gain a little notoriety from Paradise Valley members and theatergoers as they left the theater, many snapping photos with their cell phones as they walked by.

"I think people are into nostalgia and (these cars) because they're so darn cute," she said. "These cars are special in that they are still historically correct. They haven't been chopped up or turned into hot rods. They don't go `vroom, vroom.' They go, `putt, putt."'

Managers from the Krikorian arranged preferred parking for club members in front of theater, Alford said, adding that the event also served as an opportunity for the four members to share their experiences on set with the organization and with the people.

"Clint Eastwood was a great guy," Spurlin said. "One set they treated us like you were somebody. If they called us up right now to be part of another shoot, I would do it in a heartbeat."

The group meets at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at the Little League Baseball Western Region Headquarters, 6707 Little League Drive, San Bernardino

For more information, visit www.pvmac.org.

Reach Kristina via email, or call her at 909-793-3221.