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Actor Jon Voight hosts screening of ‘Beyond’ at Bexley’s Drexel Theater

Collin Howard / Lantern reporter

Columbus audiences had the chance to preview the Jon Voight-led thriller, “Beyond,” with the actor.

Audience members watched the film with the Academy Award-winning actor, who was positioned next to “Beyond” producer Steven Paul at Bexley’s Drexel Theater Sunday.

Entering the theater, a sea of flashbulbs illuminated the star as he smiled and posed candidly with spectators. He mingled with the crowd for several minutes before introducing his film. At about 7 p.m., the movie began for a crowd of about 200 people.

The movie as a thriller, a “who dunnit?”-style film based around Voight’s character and his attempts to find a kidnapped girl. He teams up with a young psychic to track down the child and reprimand her kidnapper.

The credits rolled to a steady applause as the lights came on and the music died down, after which Voight and Paul began a 30-minute Q-and-A segment.

Questions ranged from specifics about the film, to the relationship between Voight and actor Dustin Hoffman in 1969’s “Midnight Cowboy.” The duo sat in director’s chairs as they answered many of the audience members’ questions.

Voight said even after all of his years in the business, the feeling he gets while working on a movie never subsides.

“It’s fun, it’s a challenge, it’s risky in some sense,” Voight said. “The adrenaline always gets up. Even the people who think they are the easiest in front of the camera, they’re working very hard to achieve that and they all get that excitement in their stomach.”

Paul, sitting to Voight’s left, agreed, but for reasons of his own.

“I started in the entertainment business when I was 6 years old and I’ve done theater, and I’ve done television commercials, I’ve done films, I’ve written, I’ve produced, I’ve directed, and I must tell you: Every time I go down to the set, it is so exciting,” Paul said.

“I still get so excited to see movie stars like Jon. I’m excited to sit next to him right now. I’m nervous sitting next to him. … Is he looking at me now?”

An audience member asked Voight if he believed in the supernatural now that he had played a detective who dealt with psychics in the film. He said he did and shared a personal story from around the time he made 1979’s “The Champ.”

“So I went to see this psychic, and people were paying a couple of dollars each, and the guy was making money on it, and I thought right away this guy’s got to be bogus if he’s charging money for this stuff,” Voight said. “I thought there was something wrong with him. This guy couldn’t be the real deal, right? There’s nothing spiritual about this fellow.”

The psychic told him the project he made would be big, but not here. Then, “The Champ” was released in the United States, but he said the film was marketed poorly. There was even a problem with the print that was screened and it got poor reviews.

However, Voight said, the film was successful internationally.

Voight collaborated with Jay Schottenstein and raised money by offering to donate revenue from ticket sales to the synagogue Congregation Torat Emet and Friends of the Drexel, Inc. A sponsors’ banquet was held prior to the film at a synagogue.

“Mr. Voight and Mr. Schottenstein have a very long-standing relationship, they’re involved in a lot of charitable organizations together nationally and internationally,” said Liz Kalef, executive director of Congregation Torat Emet. “It was through that relationship that they worked out this arrangement where we could do this sneak preview that would benefit local organizations.”

Voight and Paul stayed after the session to meet spectators and to sign autographs.

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