When you think Vegas movies, you think apocalypse -- and opera.
Well, maybe you don't, but Albert Pyun does.
The Las Vegas-based cult filmmaker's latest, "Cyborg: Rise of the Slingers," is scheduled to roll today, launching a six-week shoot with desert scenes near Searchlight, followed by a few days in the Mesquite area.
"We start small and build throughout," Pyun reports.
Formerly titled "Red Moon," the production -- which the director describes as "an origins story done in the style of an opera" -- recounts "events leading up to the post-apocalyptic world of 'Cyborg.' " (Pyun's 1989 future feature, as you may recall, starred Jean-Claude Van Damme.)
In "Rise of the Slingers," Xavier DeClie replaces Van Damme, but original "Cyborg" cast members Vince Klyn and Terrie Batson return, joined by Michael Pare, Sasha Mitchell, Scott Paulin, Roxy Gunn, Cazzy Golomb , Norbert Weisser "and more to come," Pyun promises.
Gunn -- also featured in Pyun's upcoming "Road to Hell" -- and her band may provide "Cyborg's" opera-style score, according to the director.
But she's only one of many locals involved, along with director of photography Michael Su, production designer Heather Caliguire and line producer and editor Daniel Ray Gutierrez.
And as if this week weren't busy enough for Pyun, another of his productions -- the sword-and-sorcery adventure "Tales of an Ancient Empire" -- hits DVD Tuesday, featuring "Rise of the Slingers" cast members Pare, Paulin and Weisser.
TAKE '5': As dedicated TV viewers (and Shooting Stars readers) well know, Las Vegas always has been a favorite Travel Channel destination.
And the channel is back Wednesday with a scheduled visit to the Rio for the upcoming "Top 5" series, which features a different theme in each episode.
The Rio's Carnival World Buffet provides the Vegas backdrop for a show devoted to "Top 5 Places to Stuff Your Face." Executive chefs -- and appreciative eaters -- will be featured, along with footage of buffet preparations and presentations.
INTERNATIONAL CALLS: Two European TV productions also were expected in town over the weekend: Sweden's "Ask Olle " and "Bank of Dave," for Britain's Channel Four.
The latter, from Scotland's Finestripe Productions, focuses on entrepreneur David Fishwick , who "tries to create a bank from scratch and get it into profit in only 180 days," according to a Channel 4 news release about the program.
CASTING ABOUT: Las Vegas-based Strong Image Films will hold an open casting call this weekend for the upcoming crime drama "The Glass Circle."
Auditions will take place from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at Hollywood Bound Acting Academy, 7220 S. Cimarron Road, Suite 100, Las Vegas.
Actors interested in trying out should bring résumés, headshots and video reels (if available).
"The Glass Circle" focuses on a Las Vegas drug dealer trying to opt out of the business before it destroys him, according to director Rob Marchitti , who hopes to begin shooting around town later this year.
More information is available online at strongimagefilms.com.
MEET AND GREET: Plans are under way for the Nevada Film Alliance's first Nevada Film Project, which will focus on production of one 100-page script, featuring the same 10 characters -- by 10 separate production teams -- on location in the Silver State.
The next informal meeting to discuss the project is set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Boulder Station's Grand Cafe.
For more information, check out nevadafilmproject.com.
Carol Cling's Shooting Stars column appears Mondays. Contact her at 702-383-0272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.