Director, lead actress say all-Wilmington film “Remember Yesterday’ is something special

Written and directed by J.R. Rodriguez, the romantic comedy was cast, filmed, edited, produced and financed in Wilmington.
Updated: Aug. 10, 2022 at 5:25 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - After five years of work, the Wilmington-centric movie Remember Yesterday will have its’ premiere showings at 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 11, at The Pointe 14 Cinemas, located near the intersection of Independence Boulevard and South 17th Street in Wilmington.

Written and directed by J.R. Rodriguez, the romantic comedy was cast, filmed, edited, produced and financed in Wilmington, and the story is set in the city’s theater community. Rodriguez, a veteran of area stage and film productions, says he wrote the story for Remember Yesterday about eight years ago, while cast in a production of Cats at Temple Theater in Sanford, North Carolina.

“I was the old guy by a long way,” Rodriguez remembers. “There were all of these beautiful twenty-somethings playing all these roles. Half the cast was from North Carolina, half the cast was from New York, ‘my boyfriend this’, ‘my girlfriend that’, was the whole conversation. I wanted to see if I could take those stories and apply them to people in my age group. The first script was 168 pages, which is crazy, and we narrowed it down to where we landed, and we made it about one central figure, Jenny Hill-Devlin, and that’s where we went from.”

Jana Allen is cast in that lead role of Jenny, and is also one of the film’s executive producers. It wasn’t a big stretch for her to take on the part.

“I identified with Jenny from the very first time I read the script, I thought I was Jenny,” Allen said. “I found that in my life at that point, I was experiencing some of the things that Jenny was experiencing, and I felt like we had similar lives, we paralleled. Jenny was a theater star in her hometown, I had the same path and we’re both from small southern communities. I just felt this connection with Jenny. I don’t know if I’ve felt that with any other role that I’ve ever had.”

The community effort in creating Remember Yesterday is also one of the aspects of the film that Rodriguez, Allen and others believe make it so special. Fans will enjoy seeing local actors on the big screen, and Wilmington landmarks like Thalian Hall and the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge in the backdrop through the entire movie.

“It’s a Wilmington love story,” Allen said. “It’s about the theatre community. It’s about the charm of the city, and it took a lot of cooperation from the community to get it done. I mean, they helped us with locations and helped fund it. Local businesses and citizens helped us fund this project. I moved to Wilmington, from New York, to start my acting career. So for me to have Wilmington embrace me, and let me be a part of a fully funded, fully cast- and crew-produced local project was very, very special.”

Rodriguez gives a lot of credit to veteran producer Jon Landau, who worked alongside him in Remember Yesterday, for helping get his vision to this point and being a calming influence during the trying times of his first feature film. Now that the movie is set to premiere, Rodriguez hopes it can inspire others.

“What I hope people take away from it, more than anything, is that it’s okay to be a little bit older and still have dreams,” Rodriguez said. “It’s okay to be a little bit older and think there’s more to life than just the same mundane that we do. I’m 55 years old and I’m still a dreamer!”

To learn more about Remember Yesterday, click here.

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