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Clifton Forge celebrates role in “Dopesick” premiere

Beth Macy, author of the book the series is based on, speaks to the crowd at the Historic...
Beth Macy, author of the book the series is based on, speaks to the crowd at the Historic Masonic Theatre.(WDBJ7 Photo)
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 3:51 PM EDT
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CLIFTON FORGE, Va. (WDBJ) - Hollywood came to Clifton Forge, or at least a little part of it.

The Hulu show “Dopesick” dropped its first episode Wednesday, and to celebrate they had a red carpet premiere at the Historic Masonic Theatre.

Several scenes were filmed in the town, and a number of people worked on the production.

“I don’t know. I told my wife, from dopesick to ‘Dopesick.’ You know, it was an amazing experience,” said Ryan Hall. “It gets no bigger than that.”

Ryan Hall was an extra in the Hulu series, playing a coal miner.

“I guess the beard made me a coal miner,” he said. “So it was fun.”

It was a role that has extra meaning for him as a recovering addict himself.

“It was intense at times,” he said, “but, you know, a good experience.”

Click here for other “Dopesick”-related stories.

“It’s such an important subject matter,” said Andy Edmunds, the Director of the Virginia Film Office. “Really, the economic impact of production is great, and we really welcome that. But it’s doubly valuable to me and to us and to our office and to the state, when you are able to make a movie or a show that brings awareness to such an important issue that affects our state and our nation right now.”

Hall and his fellow extras and others who took part in the production finally got to see the first episode of “Dopesick” at the Masonic, where much of the work was headquartered.

“This was just like a little gift that came to us, a big gift,” said Gayle Hillert, President of the Masonic Preservation Foundation, “and we were very glad we were here.”

It was vital income during the height of the COVID shutdown, as well as a touch of Hollywood glamor.

“We’re thrilled that we had this big old theater to help out,” Hillert said.

“Yeah, it’s going to be fun,” said Michael Hayslett, who was also an extra. “I suspect there’s going to be a lot of whooping and cheering in the audience, you know?”

Celebrating some familiar face and places while still delivering an important drama.

“It was exciting for Clifton Forge,” said Hall.

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