WATERVILLE (AP) – A Central Maine Power lineman who has appeared in CMP commercials for a dozen years is going from television to the movies as an extra for the HBO movie “Empire Falls.”

Jim Wright is well-known to Maine TV viewers as the lineman who issues the stern safety warning, “No line’s safe to touch – evah!”

For the movie, he will appear in a bar scene with actors Ed Harris and Paul Newman. On Wednesday he was in on a film shoot at the Bob-In restaurant and lounge, which has been transformed into the fictional Callahan’s Bar for the movie.

Filming both inside and outside the Temple Street lounge will continue through Friday. Wright, 40, showed up on the set about noon Wednesday.

“I auditioned in August and waited in line five hours, and it has paid off,” said Wright, who lives in Cornville. “I got my call last night.”

Now a transmission supervisor for CMP, Wright landed the television commercial job 12 years ago. He became a celebrity of sorts and earned a place in Mainers’ minds – if not hearts – with the way he delivered the word “evah.”

“Empire Falls” is about the struggles of a hard-luck mill town and is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Maine author Richard Russo. It is being filmed at various spots thoughout central and southern Maine.

Wright said he is a lot better actor now than he was when he first began shooting the CMP commercials.

“In the beginning, it took me a long time,” he said. “I’ll never forget it. We did 128 takes for six scenes. Recently, we did three scenes in 12 takes.”

Wright said he had never before been in the Bob-In, and was looking forward to working with Newman and Harris.

“I mean, a lot of people have been accused of acting up in the Bob-In,” he said. “Not me – but now I’m going to be.”

AP-ES-10-02-03 1251EDT



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