Local ‘Darling’ at work on Mayberry movie

Make-up artist Guity Surrey (r) prepares Christie McLendon for her role as Skippy.

She’s played Charlene Darling in live Mayberry style productions, but now Metter’s own Christie McLendon is taking Charlene and a few other favorite characters from The Andy Griffith Show to the big screen.

Filming of “Mayberry Man” has started in Danville, Indiana - home of the Mayberry in the Midwest Festival.

According to IndyStar, the crowd-funded movie “isn’t another episode of the 1960s TV series, but instead, it follows the story of a snobbish movie star who’s pulled over for speeding and sentenced to soak up life lessons at Mayberry Fest.”

Mayberry fans were asked to contribute $100,000 toward the cost of the film and donations have exceeded that goal. Children of actors from The Andy Griffith Show are producing the G-rated  feature-length film.

“The writer and executive producer, Stark and Cort Howell, are sons of Charlene Darling’s husband Bud Wash - actor Hoke Howell. They started coming to Mayberry Days (a celebration in Mt. Airy) and that’s where the concept of the movie came from,” McLendon explained.

The movie stars Brett Varvel, known for The War Within.

McLendon is now in Danville and will return home for a few days before heading to Mt. Airy, NC - hometown of actor Andy Griffith and the inspiration for the town of Mayberry.

“The movie is about a spoiled Hollywood guy,” McLendon said. “His father was on The Andy Griffith Show, but he doesn’t care ... bad attitude and he gets in trouble with the law. The judge sentences him to go to a Mayberry festival.”

In addition to playing Charlene Darlene, McLendon will play Skippy, one of the Fun Girls from Mount Pilot and will also play Juanita Pike, the mayor’s daughter.

The plan is for the film to be picked up by a streaming service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime, McLendon said.

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