Whoever would have imagined that a local community would be the location of an Erick Brockovich-type film and that some local folks would be involved in the making of it! That location is LaCoste and Hondo, and the local folks involved are Christy and Paige Williamson.
Paige, a student at Devine High School (Class of 2020), is the daughter of Judith Christy and Dale Williamson. Dale (the son of Margie Banks Williamson and the late Ronnie Williamson and grandson of the late Lonnie and Ethel Williamson of Natalia and the late Nobel and Helen Banks of Devine) is a 1995 DHS graduate. Christy (daughter of Steve and Pam Peterson) is a 2001 Natalia graduate.
In addition to daughter Paige, the Williamsons have two other children attending Devine schools: sons Gavin and Holden. But, their family is still growing, as the Williamsons are finalizing details to be hosting a foreign-exchange student, “blessed to be creating an intimate exchange of culture for the next school year,” Christy states.
The Williamson family interest in other cultures is ingrained in their DNA, as one of their hobbies is spending time traveling (with Christy’s work trips and conferences often turning into family vacations) to such places as Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, the Arctic Circle, Florida, New York, and soon to Europe.
Following her graduation from Natalia, Christy attended Austin College in Sherman, TX, then completed her studies and graduated from UTSA with a BA in psychology. She and Dale had married and settled in the Devine area to be closer to family. Through young adulthood, Dale had worked alongside his dad, who owned Medina Ice, and later built a career in the oil field and other entrepreneurial businesses.
Christy was able to stay at home during her children’s early years. She has since earned her Master’s in Social Work from OLLU of San Antonio and has completed all course work in the Doctoral Marriage and Family Therapist program at St. Mary’s University. She is finalizing her dissertation in the area of complementary and alternative medicine as a doctoral candidate – anticipating to graduate in early 2020.
Christy’s passion is to provide clinical and consultative services to students, youth, and families. Serving as a therapist in interventions, Christy began offering relationship workshops such as Twogether in Texas and Prepare/Enrich. She is locally building her own business, Institute of INterventions, under the license status of marriage family therapist-associate.
Christy explains that as her daughter Paige became interested in the performing arts, she has had various opportunities for acting in church, school, and community. Taking on roles that called for a big personality, Paige “has an even bigger heart,” states her mother. For example, she began early giving of herself by helping with HANK as an ambassador with her mother as well as embracing opportunities to engage in the community at every chance.
One of those opportunities to become involved happened in the filming of the movie, “Texas Cotton.” Paige answered a casting call and wanted to catch a part as an extra in the film. “We drove into Hondo where they were filming that day at the court house,” Christy explains. At the time of the shoot, Paige was underage at only 15. Therefore, in order for her to be a part of the film, she had to be accompanied by Christy.
Reportedly, director and co-writer Tyler Russell got in touch with the San Antonio Film Commission who recommended some back roads of Hondo, La Coste, and Castroville for the movie’s setting. Because the director and lead actor have family from the area, they were sold on the location choice.
“Texas Cotton” (2018) is a story set in La Coste, TX, in which residents believe that a mysterious outsider is sabotaging area cotton crops with an endless plague. The town’s aging lawman, convinced that the stranger is innocent, searches for the truth and thus creates unrest in the community.
Tyler asked a local dentist, George Hardy, to take the lead role, playing as sergeant in La Coste’s law enforcement agency. He finds himself serving the community by getting to the bottom of a horticultural nightmare with charges of the alleged in a trespassing cover-up.
Once on the set, Tyler asked Christy if she would be willing to be an extra as well. “Not what I was expecting,” she states. “I went with mom hair, in mom clothes, and makeup only half done – not expecting to be on camera,” she adds. Christy goes on to explain that, after rummaging through her stash of clothes in her trunk, she found a wardrobe change and threw on some lipstick to become Juror #6.
Meanwhile, Paige became a member of the audience of the court. The two were asked to go back the next day where they would become extras as “angry mob” members before “the sprayer” sat for trial. Then, the director invited them to the corn maize for the following day, but “mom duties were vying for my attention,” Christy laments, “and Paige’s many other hobbies were demanding her presence as well.”
One of the movie premier locations of “Texas Cotton” took place in Hondo at the Raye Theater. Paige, for one, was ecstatic about that choice, as she had grown up attending that theatre, and it was the location of one of her first theatrical performances.
Reviews are mixed. One states, “The cast is good…and the location is nice…. But all these nice folks are worthy of more than such a flat, featureless story.” Another is more forgiving: “Texas Cotton”…blends crime drama, country humor, and cornpone… into a crackerjack of a fun movie.”
Tyler expressed an interest in Christy’s and Paige’s participating in other of his films. Of course, according to Christy, Paige was eager to comply, even to the point of beginning negotiations and terms of contract for large speaking parts. Since the movie, however, Paige has decided not to pursue a career in acting but in criminology/forensics. Perhaps the plot of “Texas Cotton” was the inspiration for her career choice after all.