Thriller 'Mirror Image' coming to Laguna

The sleepy seaside village of Laguna Beach is the backdrop of a local filmmaker's latest thriller — "Mirror Image."

The independent film stars Eric Roberts, "CSI" star April Eden, Ed O'Ross of "Six Feet Under" fame and Eve Mauro of "Dexter," among others.

It screens at South Coast Cinema on Sunday night.

Executive Director Joey DePinto moved to Laguna six years ago and thought the quiet town would be the ideal location for his latest suspense movie, which centers around a girl who grapples with the murder of her twin sister. She tries to cope but begins to have visions that bring the horrific event of her past into her present. The murder case went cold and detectives decide to reopen it.

DePinto — whose filmography includes "Casino" and "Batman Returns" — said to be prepared for a "huge twist" at the end.

Actor Rico Simonini, who also produced the film, plays a detective who's aiming to take another crack at the case.

"I always play a bad guy so it was fun playing a good guy," he said.

He acts opposite Roberts, who plays the police chief.

DePinto said he really enjoyed working with Roberts, the brother of actress Julia Roberts, due to his work ethic.

"Working with Eric Roberts was a delight because he loves working and being on set," he said. "When he's done working, he doesn't want to go anywhere. It was a tremendous experience."

Locals will recognize familiar spots such as Main Beach, South Coast Highway and Hush restaurant, now Katsuya, in the film. A Temple Hills home provided the setting for many scenes of the film.

Simonini compared the film's location to Hitchcock's "Birds," which filmed in Bodega Bay, on the coast of Sonoma County.

"The town kind of created part of the mood — the sunsets, the sky, crashing waves," he said. "It's the juxtaposition of the drama."

The movie was also filmed in Newport Beach, the Balboa Peninsula and Balboa Island.

Proceeds from the screening will go to Guard a Heart Foundation, which raises awareness about heart disease.

The screening and Red Carpet Halloween Party begins at 6:30 p.m.

Twitter: @joannaclay

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