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Bunnyman Bridge

Bunny Man Hops to Big Screen
Local filmmakers prepare to make film based on Clifton's most notorious legend.

The story of the notorious Bunny Man Bridge in Clifton has remained a popular myth for decades. Several versions of the Bunny Man story have been told and re-told for years, keeping it a well-known myth in Northern Virginia.

In the spirit of continuing the storytelling tradition, a group of local filmmakers have written a film based on the story of Bunny Man bridge.

"We’ve been making films for over six years," said Aaron Goodmiller, a writer and producer with 19th & Wilson, the company that is producing the film. "We’ve made 10 short films, including one full-length feature that made it into one of Washington, D.C.’s film festivals." 19th & Wilson is composed of a group of filmmakers based out of Gainesville, Ashburn, Centreville and Burke.

Goodmiller, along with associates Donnie Conti and Richard Friend, came up with the idea of the movie based on an old friend of theirs.

"We had a friend who lived on the opposite side of the bridge, and whenever she left her house, she had to drive past it," said Goodmiller. "She would always talk about it, and it got us thinking about the story.

Director Eric Espejo researched the legend and found numerous versions, all of which seemed to lack a solid story line.

"After reading articles on the Bunny Man, I thought that maybe these writers have had some holes in their research, and I thought I would try to fill them in my own way," said Espejo. "I don’t want to make another typical slasher movie. I want this to be a film that makes you think."

THE ORIGINAL SCRIPT, written in 2003, has undergone several re-writes, and is well on its way to being filmed. "As a screenwriter, I am constantly on the lookout for good film concepts," said Espejo. "Since I too went to Bunny Man bridge on Halloween when I was a kid, I figured this idea would be great."

In a 2006 article for the Laurel Hill/Fairfax Station/Clifton Connection written by Glenn McCarty, a local historian was interviewed regarding the tale of Bunny Man Bridge.

"A guy with a bunny suit. It ends there," said Brian Conley, the historian for the Fairfax County Public Library, who wrote an 11-page essay based on the tale titled, "The Bunny Man Unmasked: The Real Life Origins of an Urban Legend."

After thoroughly researching the story, including checking Fairfax County Police Department records to confirm any reports of any murders around the bridge in 1970, Conley found no substantial evidence to support the myth.

"I am as convinced as I can get that that event really is the genesis of the story," said Conley. "Anything having to do with deaths, maulings or maimings has been added to the story over time," said Conley.

Goodmiller describes their version of the story as a mystery that ties into the Bunny Man story. "Our script centers around a detective who has come back to the area to make good on his dying mom's last wish of finding out who killed her son," he said. "As he delves deeper into the area, he finds that there are a lot of similarities between his brother's death and the legend of Bunny Man Bridge. The more he searches, the more opposition he finds in the townsfolk, and the more the legend begins to resurface. His only hope is to solve his brother’s murder before he becomes part of the legend himself."

Filming is set to begin early next year and will include onsite filming in Clifton and the area surrounding Bunny Man Bridge on Colchester Road.

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