'Iron Will' star to help celebrate movie at Duluth Superior Film Festival


The star of the Minnesota-made movie "Iron Will" is coming to Duluth to help celebrate the 1994 film at the Duluth Superior Film Festival this weekend, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

MacKenzie Astin is scheduled to arrive by train at the Historic Union Depot Sunday, where he will attend a public screening "Iron Will" and take part in a panel discussion afterward.

Astin, he son of famed actors Patty Duke and John Astin, was 19 when he played Will Stoneman in the film, which was produced by Walt Disney Pictures. The film also stars Kevin Spacey, David Ogden Stiers and Brian Cox.

Based on a true story, "Iron Will" follows Will as he embarks on a treacherous 522-mile cross-country dogsled race from Winnipeg to St. Paul -- a race he must win in order raise money to save his family's farm after his father dies.

The film -- which also stars Kevin Spacey, David Ogden Stiers and Brian Cox -- was shot in several locations in Minnesota, including Two Harbors, Lutsen, Brookston, Kerrick, Cloquet and Duluth.

"I didn’t realize how much fun and what a lovely experience I was going to have in Duluth," Astin told the News Tribune.

The free screening and even will take place at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum starting at 5 p.m. Featured at the event will be three railroad cars -- including the Historic Northland Car -- that were used in the movie.

Riki McManus, who was the casting director on the film and currently director of the Upper Minnesota Film Office, told the News Tribune that about 3,000 locals ended up being extras in the movie -- likely the most in this region’s history.

See a behind-the-scenes look at "Iron Will" below.

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