CRANFORD, NJ — Older Cranford residents may remember when their town was the setting for the 2005 major motion picture “Guess Who?” starring Ashton Kutcher, Bernie Mac and Zoe Saldana — a comedic remake of the 1967 drama “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”.
Cranford has made it to Hollywood for the second time in 12 years with the release of the award-winning film “The Good Catholic,” featuring Cranford High School alumnus Jake Forrestal along with the a cappella group Another Round.
Locals were given a chance to see the film at the New Vision 5 Theater in Cranford on Sunday, Sept. 10.
Forrestal told LocalSource in an Sept. 21 email that the Cranford community has been supportive of the film.
“My mom got involved with the movie during post-production and has really been great about spreading the word,” Forrestal said. “It’s been cool to see so many people come out to watch the movie.”
Shot in Bloomington, Ind., the film’s plot centers on the true story of a priest falling in love, and is based on the the experiences of writer and director Paul Shoulberg.
Shoulberg and actor Zachary Spicer, who plays in the film’s starring role, held a question-and-answer session after the Cranford screening.
Forrestal told LocalSource that the producers of “The Good Catholic” contacted his singing group at Indiana University two years ago, and the producers asked the group to arrange a song for the film.
“They were looking for a modern choir for a specific scene. They wanted to feature a classic church song sung in a modern a cappella style with beat box,” Forrestal said. “At the time, I was music director of the group and arranged a version of ‘Amazing Grace.’ I also had the first of two solos in the song, which can be heard in the movie.”
The film got a boost at the Sept. 12 Cranford Township Committee meeting from Commissioner Ann Dooley.
“Jake Forrestal, who graduated from Cranford High School in 2013, has a truly wonderful solo of ‘Amazing Grace.’ I
encourage you all to go see it,” Dooley said.
The commissioner attended the matinee screening that featured the Q&A session.
“Paul Shoulberg emailed me that it was an honor to bring the movie to Cranford and share it with such a supporting community,” Dooley said at the committee meeting.
In that email, Shoulberg thanked her and the town of Cranford for being wonderful hosts.
According to an Aug. 24 press release from the production company, Pigasus Pictures, “The Good Catholic” was inspired by the story of Shoulberg’s parents and serves as a tribute to his recently deceased father, Donald Shoulberg.
Shoulberg’s father was a small-town priest who fell in love with his mother, a practicing nun at the time.
“The Good Catholic” received two awards including for Best Picture at the Santa Barbara Film Festival and for Best Screenplay at the Milan International Film Festival in 2017, according to the press release.