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The Coletti family’s Roxanne experience

Second of two parts

While it’s not clear if all the scenes in the script to Roxanne that don’t show up in the movie were actually filmed, at least some were.

For instance, Nelson old-timer George Coletti had a brief speaking part that didn’t make the finished product. This is how it appeared in the script, which writer/actor Steve Martin later published in a book.

Roxanne walks on. C.D. stares at her from the window of an antique shop. He picks a hideous object out of the window.

Shop owner: Why are you buying this?

C.D.: To get it out of your window. I have to pass by here every day.

The antique shop was Coletti’s Kootenay Exchange on Baker Street and he played the owner during filming in the summer of 1986. He recalls the “hideous object” as a phoney piece of pottery or figurine and that the scene continued like this:

Shop owner: You know, I’ve got another one just like it in the back.

C.D.: Well, go get that one too, will you?

“That was my whole part although it took seven takes to get it,” Coletti recalls. “It was a good hour or more. In between takes we’d chat.”

He was too shy to ask Martin or co-star Daryl Hannah for an autograph, but both bought something from him — Hannah a fire hydrant-shaped Avon bottle, and Martin a Mickey Mouse figurine — and he kept the dollar bills they paid with.

They weren’t the only cast members he did business with. “All the actors were into Disney stuff. They bought every little piece of Disney I had except for a little pottery doll I wouldn’t sell. It was one of the first things I had in the store and it was my mascot on my cash register. They all tried to buy it and finally I hid it.”

Another actor, John Kapelos, paid $4.82 for an “ugly gnome mug.” Coletti didn’t mind asking for his autograph.

Coletti’s part came about after the film production company rented the shop as a set. “It was natural. I just had to sell [Martin] a piece of junk,” he says. “But I don’t think I was a very good actor because they cut it out all out.”

The only part of the scene that made the movie was Martin looking out the shop window.

Coletti was invited to view footage from his scene but “I was busy and thought ‘Aw, I’ll see it sooner or later.’ I never did.” Nor has he ever seen stills taken of him and Martin — although he has a photo of himself with Hannah and another of her with his dog.

Because it was a speaking part Coletti had to get a temporary permit from the Screen Actors Guild. Even though his big moment didn’t appear in the film, he still collected residuals. “I got maybe three or four cheques in the next two or three years. I should have kept them. They were maybe seven bucks each.”

Three generations

Coletti, now 92, wasn’t the only one in his family involved with the movie. His son Lou was hired to help build props and sets.

“They rented our store and I asked for a job,” Lou says. “They said ‘We’ll hire you to work on your own building.’” He helped redecorate it as a high-end fur store called All Things Dead (where Booksmyth

is now), which Kapelos’ character ran. However, no interior scenes ended up in the movie. (Once shooting ended, Lou took the sign down but so many people came to town wanting to see it, he put it back up for a year. Later he had it up at home, but it eventually deteriorated.)

Lou also worked on the fire hall set, a Hall Street market set that wasn’t used in the film, and a corner set on the main floor of the then-vacant Wood Vallance building that served as Roxanne’s hotel room where she reads one of C.D.’s letters. The production office was in the same building and Coletti recalls ripping out hundreds of feet of shelving.

He wasn’t present when his father’s scene was shot, although his wife and kids were, and his then-three-year-old daughter Christina charmed Martin.

“They were playing back and forth. She could make all kinds of faces — happy, sad, mad. The next day he came in and said ‘We need your daughter.’”

When Mayor Deebs officially declared Oktoberfest in July underway, the camera zoomed in on Christina — the only one clapping on an otherwise empty street.

When Lou saw the footage, he thought “That’s a better shot than Daryl Hannah had. She didn’t get a close-up like that.”

The filmmakers also wanted Christina in the crowd during the scene where C.D. climbs a roof to sit with an upset boy, but Coletti says “it was taking too long to shoot and she needed her nap.”

When they were invited to the film’s Vancouver premiere, Lou assumed either or both his father and daughter would be in it — but both parts got cut. Lou didn’t receive a film credit either.

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