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downtown Greensboro becomes a movie set

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Actor still remembered for TV role

6-2-04

By Dawn DeCwikiel-Kane, Staff Writer

News & Record

GREENSBORO -- David Faustino hears it often: "Hey Bud," TV fans call out, "Where's your sister?"

Seven years after the popular Fox sitcom "Married...With Children" ended its 10-year run, viewers still remember Faustino as Bud Bundy, the dysfunctional family's smart son with the attractive but ditsy sister.

"Everyone knows Bud Bundy," Faustino says.

Faustino wants audiences to enjoy his new comic role, too. He's playing the best friend of rock singer Jon Bon Jovi's character in the National Lampoon film, "The Trouble With Frank."

The comedy has been filming since May 5 in locations across the Piedmont Triad, including downtown Greensboro, Hagan-Stone Park, the Ice House and Starmount Country Club, as well as Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem and the Davidson County Courthouse in Lexington.

Filming is expected to wrap up Thursday, with the movie to be released sometime in 2005.

In addition to Bon Jovi and Faustino, filming has brought in stars such as Cary Elwes of "The Princess Bride"; Estella Warren, a magazine cover girl whose films include "Kangaroo Jack"; "Saturday Night Live" alum Nora Dunn; and Jonathan Furr, the young star of "Two Soldiers," an Oscar-winning short film also shot in the Piedmont Triad.

"People are excited that we are here," Faustino says. "It's different from doing a movie in L.A. It happens there all of the time, and no one is fazed by it."

In their limited spare time, cast and crew have frequented such downtown spots as Much Restaurant and Bar, the N Club and The Rhinoceros Club, where Bon Jovi sang a few of his songs Friday night.

As they prepare to leave, Los Angeles film producer Matty Simmons praises Greensboro.

"I can't recall a place where people are as friendly and accommodating," says Simmons, who underwent emergency gallbladder surgery during his stay.

Simmons produced National Lampoon's successful "Animal House" and "Vacation" movies.

"I hope this will be as successful as those, and I believe it can be," Simmons says about "The Trouble With Frank."

He is now joining executive producer Charles Grimes of Greensboro and producers Bill Greenblatt of Los Angeles and Phil Smoot of Asheboro in discussions with potential distributors for the independent film.

Bon Jovi stars as Frank Hopper, a lovable loser who decides to finance the first all-female ice hockey league with credit cards and finds himself in legal hot water.

He and Faustino filmed scenes last weekend in downtown Greensboro, where Dixie Lock and Key Service on Lewis Street became Buckinowski's Home Repair.

Faustino plays Carl Buckinowski, the fix-it shop owner who is "not a loser, but is sort of a geeky guy," he says as the sound crew wires him for a scene.

Frank, on the other hand, "is a dreamer and adventurer, and I ride in on his coattails."

But when Frank dreams up his women's hockey league idea, Faustino says, "I am dubious because his ideas are out there and don't seem to work. And he's broke as a joke.

"I am also like the voice of reason for him, because he really doesn't have one."

But Carl soon gets caught up in Frank's idea and becomes his business partner.

Frank pitches the idea to Faustino's character on, of all places, a school bus.

Frank doesn't have wheels, so he rides the school bus with his nephew, Nick, played by 11-year-old Furr of Fuquay Varina.

On Sunday, Faustino, Bon Jovi, Furr and 15 local youngsters boarded a bus with "Guilford County Schools" painted on its side.

With a film crew and legendary director Arthur Hiller aboard, they drove around downtown Greensboro filming.

Later that night, Faustino filmed a scene in Ben Roberts' apartment above the Undercurrent Restaurant at South Elm and Lewis streets.

On this night, the apartment becomes home to hockey-playing character Wendy DelVecchio, played by Dot-Marie Jones.

The 6-foot-3 Jones, 15-time world and eight-time national women's arm wrestling champion, recently starred in the Disney Channel's "Lizzie McGuire" as Coach Kelly.

Wendy has caught her former boyfriend cheating on her.

"I tell Frank that I think I am going to quit the team, and he talks Carl into taking me out to dinner," Jones says as she prepares for her scene.

Audiences should chuckle at the foot difference in height between Wendy and Carl.

At her apartment, "She does a strip show and I faint but end up falling in love with her," Faustino says.

Faustino and Jones know each other from "Married...With Children," when Jones appeared in scenes at the shoe store run by Bud Bundy's hapless dad, Al, played by Ed O'Neill. The show also starred Katey Sagal as high-heeled housewife Peg and Christina Applegate as Bud's sister, Kelly.

Now 30, Faustino was only 12 when he started on "Married...With Children." The show is now in syndication and seen in reruns.

"It was a great run," says Faustino, who says he still hears people say they enjoyed his character.

"I made good money. I get certain work because of it. At the same time, people associate me with Bud Bundy, and I know I have lost roles because of it. So it's sort of bittersweet. ... But I wouldn't trade it for anything."

Faustino has since appeared in several TV movies. He has been featured on a rap album by Balistyx. He is starting a new restaurant in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife, Andrea.

But he loves comic acting. He has filmed six episodes of a sitcom called "The Help," which aired in March and April on the WB but has an uncertain future.

"I really admire Ben Stiller's career," he says of the actor/director. "I would like to direct at some point."

What will Faustino do from here? "I don't know," he says, laughing. "I will look for another job."

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