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Local golf course owner lands bit part in movie

One line has made Bob Detwiler only happier.

The owner of two miniature golf courses in North Myrtle Beach scored a small part in the movie “Blues for Willadean,” which premieres Friday in Los Angeles for one week being going into wider release.

The Del Shores film, based on his play “The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife,” centers on a woman named Willadean Winkler – played by Oscar winner Beth Grant from “The Artist” – who in coping with abuse, finds a new avenue to change her life. Another 2012 Oscar honoree, Octavia Spencer from “The Help,” also co-stars in “Willadean” with Debby Holiday, David Steen and Dale Dickey.

Detwiler said producers gave him and his son, Ted Detwiler, roles in the movie.

“They gave me this little part to be the bartender,” Bob Detwiler said. “I said, ‘Here are your chips ...’ ”

In real life, he spent time tending a bar, so reprising some of that experience on camera delighted him.

“It was just a lot of fun,” Detwiler said.

Because his son is an actor living in Hollywood, Detwiler said, “he knows all these people,” which led to this project in “Willadean.”

He said Ted Detwiler portrayed a pool player.

“He had minor part,” Bob Detwiler said, jokingly, “and I had the lead.”

He recounted being on the film set in Atlanta for two days this past summer, and that his bit part was filmed in a half-day.

Detwiler called filmography an art behind the lens because of the desire for producers and directors to film a scene using various angles, “because they may want to do this, and they may want to do that.”

Shifting to a serious tone, Detwiler said the movie, from tests with audiences, has earned “good reviews.” He attended a screening at a film festival in Birmingham, Ala., and that the audience reception there resulted in “the best rating ever” for a showing there, the Best Narrative Audience Award, as Shores touted in promotional correspondence.

“The movie is hitting on a lot sensitive areas for women and the abuse women get,” he said. “All these women’s groups are picking up on this movie. I think it’s going to do well.”

Detwiler said this film’s sentiment differs from so much material common on the silver screen, “because it’s dealing with women being treated badly.”

“It’s trying to put a message out there that you can’t do that,” he said, recalling filmgoers’ reaction in Birmingham. “There was a standing ovation afterward. They applauded like crazy.”

Although Detwiler said many movies in release today fail to impress him, “Willadean” stands out.

“This one really has a message,” he said. “It’s not just some comedy or anything like that. This is the real deal. There are some funny parts in it, but it’s not set up to be a ‘Caddyshack.’ ”

Detwiler said he would have flown to California for the movie’s run there, if not for final planning for his 16th annual Masters National ProMiniGolf Championship, which opens next Thursday at Hawaiian Rumble Golf in North Myrtle Beach.

An Indiana native who has lived in Myrtle Beach for 37 years, Detwiler voiced his cheer for also making it into the official trailer for “Willadean,” about 20 seconds into the two-minute, 10-second preview, viewable on at least two websites.

“There’s the bartender wiping off the bar,” he said. “Don’t blink your eyes.”

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