The Foundation for Ichthyosis & Related Skin Types, Inc.® (FIRST) is the only nonprofit foundation in the United States dedicated to families affected by the rare skin disorder ichthyosis, which affects approximately 300 babies each year. For more information, call 800-545-3286 or visit www.firstskinfoundation.org.
Few people get the opportunity to make money from having an A-list star in their home.
Fewer still would use that opportunity to help raise money for a rare skin disorder.
But when a scouting crew approached Mike Briggs asking to use his home on Lake Lanier for an upcoming movie, he saw a golden opportunity for the Foundation for Ichthyosis and Related Skin Types Inc.
Briggs is the president of FIRST, the only nonprofit foundation in the US dedicated to families affected by ichthyosis.
Ichthyosis is a genetic skin disorder that is characterized by dry, scaling skin. Depending on the type of ichthyosis, skin may be thickened or very thin. People with the disorder are at risk for many medical conditions including infections, chronic blistering, and dehydration. According to FIRST, more than 300 babies are born each year with some form of ichthyosis.
"Whenever something pops up my way, I’m thinking of ways to make money for (FIRST)," Briggs said. "So after they first discussed it with me, I took a deep breath and thought this might be an excellent opportunity for the foundation."
Brentwood Productions donated $35,000 to FIRST for the use of Briggs’ home for the upcoming movie "Ten" starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Briggs said he was pleased with the production company’s sizeable donation because it’s often difficult for the small foundation to raise funds for scientific and medical research.
"That makes a big impact on a small foundation," Briggs said.
It took 12 days for the crews to transform Briggs’ house into a movie set and complete filming, which wrapped up in December.
Briggs said before he agreed to let the crews use his home he spoke with his connections in the movie industry.
"They all said ‘Man, you don’t want to do that. They’re going to tear your house up,’" Briggs said, laughing.
While "99.9 percent" of the nearly 150 people that made up the crew were careful not to damage the home, a few dents and scrapes were bound to be made. Fortunately, the company repaired the damages.
Most of the changes that needed to be made to the home were made to the dock. Many of the scenes in the action-packed movie were shot on the dock and on the home’s driveway.
The movie follows an elite DEA task force that robs a drug cartel’s safe house. "Ten" is set to be released in theaters in January 2014.
The home’s panoramic view of the lake is part of the reason it was chosen for the movie.
"All the property that we face on the lake are either islands or Army Corps of Engineers property," Briggs said. "When you look out, all you see is water and trees and sometimes when the water is low, beach."
Briggs said even the movie’s star was impressed with the view.
Though the crews often tried to prevent contact with Schwarzenegger during filming, the star was curious about the home.
"He finally made it through the group one day and came over to talk to me," Briggs said. "He was asking about the house, wanted to know who built it. He’s into real estate. He owns several homes."
Briggs said he overheard one of the film’s crew members asking Schwarzenegger about the home.
"He said ‘This couldn’t be better,’" Briggs said with a chuckle.
While having his home complimented by one of Hollywood’s elite was nice, having his grandson meet the man behind the movies was even better.
Briggs’ grandson, Adam Klafter, 10, was able to meet Schwarzenegger and have a few photos taken with him.
Adam suffers from ichthyosis and has an "average" case of the skin disorder. The condition primarily affects his hands and feet and can cause his skin to break and crack more easily.
Adam said he’s seen a few of Schwarzenegger’s movies and was excited to meet him.
"He was overwhelmed," Briggs said. "He was impressed. He knew a lot about Arnold."
Adam said it was "really cool" to see the stars, the crews and all of their equipment in action. "The best part was getting to meet some of the stars and watch the movie being filmed," he said.
But for Briggs, the best part was getting a helping hand for FIRST.