Did you ever see the movie "Toy Soldiers" -- the 1990s movie starring Sean Astin, Wil Wheaton and Louis Gossett, Jr.? Did you ever see "Major Payne" -- the 1995 film starring Damon Wayans? If so, you've seen the school (or at least the Hollywood versions of it) where I teach!
Here's a little about the cast and the plot of "Toy Soldiers" from a review by Paul Brenner of "All-Movie Guide":
"Dead Poets Society and Die Hard bash heads in this action drama set in a Northeastern prep school. The film opens as a crazed Central American terrorist, Luis Cali (Andrew Divoff), goes on a shooting spree, attempting to gain his drug baron father's release from extradition to the United States. The following sequence introduces some malcontented rich kids from the prep school --Joey Trotta (Wil Wheaton), the son of a New Jersey mob leader; Billy Tepper (Sean Astin), a reprobate who has been to four boarding schools in as many years; Snuffy Bradbury (Keith Coogan), whose rich banker father is the chairman of the Republican Party; Ricardo Montoya (George Perez), the son of a big-shot lawyer; and Hank Giles (T.E. Russell), whose father is the head of the House Armed Services Committee. The boys disregard their studies and spend their waking hours giving Dean Parker (Louis Gossett Jr.) a hard time. The two storylines collide when Luis, with a group of terrorist goons, make their way across the U.S. border and invade the boarding school, planning to take hostage the son of his father's judge. But the authorities have already removed the boy from danger, so Luis and the terrorists decide to hold the entire student body hostage until their demands are met. Working with the FBI and the special government forces, the rebellious groups of boys have to devise a plan to short-circuit the hostage situation."
"Toy Soldiers" and "Major Payne" were both filmed on the Miller School of Albemarle campus before I started teaching there, but one of our former teachers was able to take pictures during the filming of "Toy Soldiers" and he's given me permission to post them here. I've taken pictures of memorabilia from the movie, and you can see our combined pictures here:
Remember the scenes from "Toy Soldiers" that featured the building with the belltower? Our Woodworking class is on the 2nd floor and the Music classes (both vocal and instrumental) meet on the top floor. The Photography studio is currently on the main floor of this building.
The art studio -- which used to be on the main floor of the belltower building -- moved to a newly renovated space in another building in November 2008. Our new space is simply amazing. And HUGE!
Many of the promotional materials for Major Payne featured an architecturally-interesting building in the background. That building is "Old Main" -- our primary academic and administrative building:
Miller School of Albemarle was founded in 1878 and it has been in continuous operation since then. It's a college prep boarding/day school that is located on 1600 acres. Many of the buildings on campus are in the Virginia Historic Landmarks Registry. Our 150 students (both boys and girls) are local, regional and international; while I don't have the opportunity to travel the world, the world comes to my classroom!