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A New Movie Shoot This Summer to Honor Locally Raised Boxer, Carmen Basilio

John Smith/WAER News

The film about a 1950’s world boxing champion from Canastota will be shot in Syracuse this summer.  “Basilio” will capture the life of Carmen Basilio who is also nicknamed the "Upstate Onion Farmer" and will be shot from August to September.  Syracuse University Professor of Film and the film’s Director Owen Shapiro says local talent will be heavily involved behind the scenes.

“Much of the crew will be students from our program and faculty.  My director of photography is one of my colleagues, he’s a great filmmaker in his own right and is a great cinematographer.  So, we have people who are involved with both the student body and the faculty that’ll be part of this project.”

Shapiro asked his friend, Actor Daniel Baldwin to appear in the film who he says has a tremendous acting range.  It will be Baldwin's 140th film and he says the city can compete with larger markets.

“We will turn Syracuse into a viable option for New York City which I believe it already is.  And we have a facility (Syracuse Sound Stage) that we’re going to learn a little bit more about how to use, another one.  And of course, we have innovative minds who have great material to work on, (about) local legends.”

Author, Producer and Screenwriter, Gary Youmans says that Basilio’s mother told the boxer to get another career when he came home beat-up in the early days.

Producer and Screenwriter, Gary Youmans

“ ‘Carmen, you got to get out of this dirty, rotten business.  You know, you have no business.  You got to get out, you got to find a job.’  He’d just say, ‘Ma I’m gonna be a champion,’ and he did it twice.” 

The film will also be shot at the Syracuse Sound Stage in Dewitt.  Auditions will be held soon.  Headshots and resumes can be sent to Lauren Felasco:  

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.