BETHEL — “Blood and Money,” a crime thriller, was filmed in the barren woods of Newry in March 2019 because director John Barr said he knew the harshness of the landscape.

It’s one of several films made in the Bethel area, including “The Myth of Fingerprints,” (1997) and “The 12 Dogs of Christmas” (2005).

The movie “Blood and Money” was filmed in and around Newry in March 2019.

“I knew I wanted to film it here, I knew how it would look, how harsh the landscape here can be. The landscape of Maine plays a huge part in this film,” Barr, a native of Cumberland, told Ray Routhier of the Portland Press Herald for a May 2020 story.

Bruce Pierce of Newry, who worked on set and became friends with Barr, said the director told him the fictional movie is based on Big Jim Barr, the director’s father.

The story is about a retired Vietnam veteran hunting in northern Maine who finds a dead woman and a large sum of money. Tom Berenger plays Jim Reed, the loner with a troubled past. Other actors are Kristen Hager, Paul Ben-Victor and Mark Sivertsen. Berenger won an Oscar nomination for Platoon in 1987.

Locations, Locals


Pierce said the movie was originally titled “Allagash” for the Aroostook County town six hours north of Bethel. Pierce said Barr had planned to film in Allagash but internet connections weren’t stable.

Robin Zinchuk, former Chamber of Commerce director, said the crew chose the Bethel area for better access to equipment and for lodging options, too.

After the location change, Barr had still planned to call the movie “Allagash” but people complained, so it became “Blood and Money,” Pierce said.

The Bumpus mine in nearby Albany Township is featured as a hideout. Other scenes were shot upstairs at the Funky Red Barn, now Modern Barn, on Summer Street in Bethel. Locals filled the background in the Funky scenes.

The cast spent time at Dick’s Restaurant in Mexico, where several scenes were filmed.

Pierce said Outward Bound in Newry had a building the filmmakers used because it was big enough for their operation. Another scene was shot in Pierce’s neighbor’s field, behind Outward Bound.


Bruce Pierce

A different scene, a meeting for recovering alcoholics, was filmed at an American Legion Hall in Rumford and featured several local people as extras. One was Pierce, who said his ad lib speech was praised by Barr but was ultimately cut.

According to Pierce, Sue Horvat, the film’s producer, asked if he would like a speaking part. “John Barr said he would write me a script,” Pierce said.

His role was to be the leader of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at the hall. Pierce said he told them no thanks to the script, “I’ll wing it,” he said.

Doug Webster of Newry was in the scene with Pierce.

“I gave my spiel,” Pierce said. “Afterward they came up to me and said, ‘Wow, you were really good, you nailed it’ …  I went to the cutting room floor. But there is a really long pan of Dougie and me sitting in the AA meeting.”


It’s hard to miss Webster and Pierce wearing their winter gear and looking convincingly concerned as another AA member speaks.

As Newry fire chief at the time, Pierce safely orchestrated a big truck explosion in the Outward Bound driveway. Jeff Gaudreu provided the truck, he said.

The crew borrowed a different truck from Pierce’s neighbor, Alan Fleet. “It was standard, so Alan had to teach the actor, one of the bad guys, how to drive it,” Pierce said.

Pierce, who helped the film crew move things, said he was also known as ‘the acquirer.’ “I can acquire things. And if I can’t acquire them, I know who can. Which is kind of true,” he said. “It really meant a lot, that they made me a part of this production,” he said. He is listed in the credits and was invited to the cast after-party.

“You should watch it, it’s entertaining,” Pierce said.

Jack Kuchta


Jack Kuchta, of Hanover disagreed.

“I would strongly recommend you don’t go see it,” he said. “You may never go see another movie again.”

Kuchta had sent a photo and auditioned for the paid part as one of the “regulars” sitting at the counter in Dick’s Restaurant in Mexico. He said in another scene he holds the door for actress Kristen Hager, who works at the diner. “It’s the side of my head in the final cut,” Kuchta said.

Kuchta said there was no plot and the acting “was not all that good … I suffered to get through the movie … my kids fast forwarded to see where I was,” he said.

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