Published: Apr 07, 2010 5:20 PM EDT

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — The financially ailing All-American Soap Box Derby in blue-collar Akron, Ohio, is getting some Hollywood help.

Former "L.A. Law" star Corbin Bernsen started shooting a derby-themed movie Wednesday. Bernsen wrote the script, is directing and will star in the film.

The initial frames were shot at the derby's hillside starting line. In the scene, Ralph Waite of "The Waltons" is giving pointers to Nathan Gamble, a preteen actor who was in "Marley & Me."

Bernsen conceived the film to help the derby, which has gone two years without a corporate sponsor. The race will get a cut from the movie's proceeds.

Bernsen also appears on USA Network's series "Psych."