Wheeling Actor Scores Gig

Actor Leland Alexander Wheeler, a Wheeling native, has scored his first screen acting gig since moving to Los Angeles this past autumn – a featured role that entailed filming in, of all places, western Pennsylvania.

Shortly after landing in L.A., Wheeler was cast in the role of Daniel in an independent feature film, “1/1,” which has been described as “a coming-of-age story.”

During the December film shoot, the Wheeling Park High school graduate was able to spend a bit of time at home with his parents, Phyllis Sigal and Bruce Wheeler, and to see other family members.

A news article about the regional film shoot was published in the Daily Courier newspaper and appeared on the Trib Media website Thursday, Jan. 2.

Accompanying the article was a photograph of the actor, co-star Lindsey Shaw and the owner of a Mt. Pleasant, Pa., shop where scenes were shot.

Freelance writer Linda Harkcom reported, “For 18 days in December, independent film company Narrator Entertainment turned places in and around Mt. Pleasant into movie sets for a feature film.”

Jeremy Phillips of Los Angeles, formerly of nearby Ruffsdale, Pa., is the writer and director of “1/1.” Phillips told the newspaper that he was inspired to write “1/1” because of the death of John Hughes, who wrote and directed several hit movies in the 1980s, including “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “The Breakfast Club.”

Actor Judd Nelson, who appeared in “The Breakfast Club,” plays the father of Shaw’s character, Lissa, in the new film. Wheeler portrays the best friend of Lissa, who is the movie’s main character.

Shaw’s previous roles have included Paige McCullers on ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” and Jennifer Mosely on “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide.” Dendrie Taylor, known for roles in “Sons of Anarchy,” “The Fighter,” “Jarhead” and “Out of the Furnace,” appears as the main character’s mother.

In the article, Harkcom noted Wheeler’s area connections. She wrote, “Wheeler grew up in Wheeling, W.Va., and resides in Los Angeles. He said he was happy to be so close to home and was able to spend some time there while in the area.”

Sites in Mt. Pleasant and Ruffsdale, as well as the Common Wealth Rehabilitation Center in New Stanton, Pa., and the Minis Training Technology Center in Greene County, Pa., were featured in the film, the article stated.

Phillips said the movie is expected to be released in 2015. He hopes to show the movie on the film festival circuit as well as in general release.

The famous feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families of southern West Virginia and Kentucky has spawned books, movies, a recent hit mini-series on the History Channel and, now, a crayfish.

Yes, you read that correctly. Dr. Zachary Loughman, West Liberty University assistant professor of biology (and son of one of my early News-Register colleagues), has named a newly-discovered species of crayfish as Cambarus hatfieldi, also known as the Tug Valley Crayfish, in honor of the famous family feud. We’re told that this crayfish is found in the Tug Fork River.

“The new species’ worldwide distribution is limited to the Tug Fork river basin and its tributaries in southwestern West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and a small portion of Virginia, though the majority of the animal’s range occurs in West Virginia,” Loughman said.

“Since this is the same region of the famous Hatfield and McCoy rivalry, we thought it was only fitting to name the animal Cambarus hatfieldi, especially since the majority of its range occurs in West Virginia,” he explained.

Loughman is known nationally for his work with crayfish; he has named two other species.

The Franciscan Sisters T.O.R. of Steubenville are featured in a new half-hour documentary, “Change of Habit,” that is slated to premiere at 8 pm. Thursday, Jan. 9, on WQED-TV in Pittsburgh.

Other area orders featured in the program include the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, Pa., and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden, Pa., production officials stated.

Linda Comins can be reached via email at: lcomins@theintelligencer. net.