“The Chaos Experiment” to thrill Grand Rapids

The cast and crew of “The Chaos Experiment,” an eco-terrorist thriller that filmed in Grand Rapids’ last September for a $7 million budget, will be the first to see it May 5 at its only theatrical screening.

After May 8-14 public showings at Celebration Cinema theatres, it will head for massive DVD distribution, said Rick Hert, West Michigan Film Commissioner.

Originally titled “The Chaos Experiment,” it was directed by Philippe Martinez, head of Georgia-based Cinepro Pictures.

Stars are Val Kilmer, Armand Assante, Eric Roberts, Megan Brown and Patrick Muldoon.

Kilmer plays a deranged, former university professor, James Pettis, who overheats his six unwitting hostages in a Turkish bath to prove that humans will devolve into chaos under the pressures of global warming.

He tells a detective (Assante) that their location will be revealed if his hypothesis is printed as the local paper’s front-page headline.

Rewritten especially for Grand Rapids, director/producer Martinez said the movie and city had a mutually beneficial relationship. “Sometimes it was hard because we were the first to film there,” he said.

However, Martinez added, the production helped establish Grand Rapids as a viable place to make movies, participating in the creation of a solid foundation of cast and crew members.

Actually, “The Chaos Theory” was not the first but the ninth movie over a period of 38 years to shoot in that quiet city, notable for furniture manufacture, Amway International, and the home of President Gerald Ford.

“Chaos” was the first feature, however, to receive the state’s 42% incentive for $2 million of the budget, and hopefully, for Hert, the first of many movies to be shot in West Michigan.

As the producers opted for DVD distribution instead of theatrical release, in June “Chaos” will be distributed on DVD by Blockbuster domestically and ? giving West Michigan international exposure — in 17 countries.