Southern Alberta family celebrates their connection to Hollywood film
Published Saturday, January 19, 2019 4:26PM MST
Last Updated Saturday, January 19, 2019 6:28PM MST
It was a chance moment for a family living in Three Hills, Alberta and it’s turned into a media storm that’s now hit the big screen.
Cecila Wessels took a photo of her husband, Theunis, mowing his lawn while in the shadow of a massive tornado that struck the area in June 2017.
As soon as the media caught sight of the amazing photo, it was published worldwide.
“It was snowballing so fast,” Cecila says. “I’ve never been involved in something that went that fast.”
The furor soon died down, but the photo wasn’t completely off the radar because the producers of Vice, a biopic of the life of former U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney, contacted her late last year.
They told her they wanted to use the image in the film and she agreed.
“It’s surreal, but this time around, it’s a lot more fun. The first time was surreal, scary and mind-blowing but this time it’s like, ‘We can do this, this is good.’”
Cecila says she’s since seen the film and really enjoyed it, especially when she saw her photo used during the scene when Cheney decides how to proceed following the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
“When I saw my picture, it was really lovely. I do appreciate how they used it and when they used it.”
She says she’s been contacted by a lot of soldiers who have been to Afghanistan, one of the locations featured in Vice, who said her photo reflected their experiences while stationed there.
“They just had to do their work with this storm so the picture was actually used personally for the soldiers mentioned in the movie but they used it to identify with the vice-president. It means a lot to a lot of people.”
The Wessels were paid by the company to use the photo, but they’re reluctant to say how much they got.
“It was a one-time licensing fee and it was only allowed to be used with the movie Vice and any of the production about Vice itself.”
The star of the photo also has his lips sealed over the amount on the cheque.
“Everybody wants to know how much we got paid, I said, 'No, you know, my wife took care of that, I was just lucky to be in the shot,’” Theunis says.
Cecila says she does have someone very special to thank for the photo.
“I really want to thank my daughter, for waking me up, so I could take this photo. Otherwise this all would have never happened.”
Vice, which has already earned star Christian Bale a Golden Globe, is expected to pick up a lot of Oscar nominations when they are announced on Tuesday.
(With files from Alesia Fieldberg)