It only takes moments to catch the excitement and love Lenore Andriel has for the movie, Yellow Rock. It’s her baby and Lenore co-starred, co-producer and co-wrote this wonderful Western with Steve Doucette, Executive Director/Producer and co-writer. Steve graciously gives Lenore credit and said, “Lenore is the heart and soul of Yellow Rock.”
This indie movie has magically unfolded into an award-winning film with world-wide distribution. The movie tells the story of what many Native Americans experienced when intruders raped their land of gold. It’s not the story of an actual tribe, but instead a compilation of a recurring theme that did occur in gold rich areas of the Southwest.
“We looked for locations in California and there was a story of Indians that were taken advantage of in San Bernardino, where prospectors would start mining in their territory. The miners would trade with the Indians and dupe them.”
“Michael Spears walked the location and he was very involved with accuracy. He’d point out when things were correct for the Lakota-Sioux. In the sacred burial grounds, it included funeral pieces, offerings, jewelry, spear heads, food left in bowls at the sites and Michael helped make it all extremely authentic.
“We had all these different camera angles, smoke pots, and smokers placed all around us. The horses were freaked out during those scenes. It was so realistic that it actually spooked the horses for real. When the cowboys approached on horseback, the horses obviously didn’t want to enter the area. Both James Russo and Michael Biehn went with it and let the horses react naturally. It was one of those happy accidents that worked. My horse freaked out before going into the area too.”
Fever for Westerns
“As a child, I loved Westerns and wore cowboy boots, a hat and rode horses. Later, I produced country western concerts so it was always running through my veins.”
Lenore thoroughly enjoyed making Yellow Rock with the cast and entire crew. She quickly admits that it was a great deal of team effort that made it all work during the short time they had to shoot. Many times synchronicity came into play and whatever was needed, fell into place at the perfect moment.
“God energy guides me when I write. I finished the screenplay in two weeks. I’d be up until five in the morning and couldn’t stop – it was just flowing.”
“Michael Spears worked with Catherine Elhoffer our costume designer, on the Indian costumes. He wore his own breastplate and red medicine bag. Michael also supplied the eagle feathers given to him by his father, for Chief White Eagle Feather, played by Joe Billingiere.
“The jewelry was authentic, however the Black Paw Indians are fictional. In 1880, most tribes were mixed. Little bands would come together from the Lakota, Cherokee and Apache, but many vanished without a record.”
“Dances with Wolves – the heart of that movie was beautifully portrayed. The tribe came to life and showed what it was like to live back then, plus the Icon of the wolf. I was inspired by that movie. Others have compared Yellow Rock to Dances with Wolves and Treasure of the Sierra Madre. They thought we captured that sort of insanity surrounding Gold Fever.”
“When I was a young girl my dad taught me how to ride and I always rode Western style. I went to Los Angeles Equestrian Center to learn how to work for the camera and with movie horses. Hustler was my horse in the movie and I love that horse. It was tight quarters galloping together on set – we had to be sure everyone was safe. During one scene where I was galloping full speed into the village, my reins broke. Had to use my legs and body to slow down.”
As an Ode to Michael Biehn for his role in Tombstone, he has a special line in Yellow Rock that many of you will remember. “I want your blood.”
Thank you, Lenore for sharing your Yellow Rock experience. We’ll look forward to learning about your next project.
If you would like to learn more about Lenore, visit CelebritySpotlight this week and ask her a question. Lenore is also Cowgirl of the Week at WWN where many photos from the movie will be posted.
In memory of Bridgette Burdine and all the lost tribes of Native Americans.