Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Actors-turned-athletes audition for movie inspired by local football game
The movie One Heart is the underdog story of the players at Gainesville State School, a juvenile facility.
SOUTHLAKE Yelling coaches and scrambling players hustled across Dragon Stadium in Southlake Tuesday morning. Through Wednesday, football players-turned-actors are auditioning for the chance to be on-screen football heroes in the upcoming movie One Heart. The film is based on the real life events that took place during the 2008 football game between Grapevine Faith Christian School, the team with the upper hand, and Gainesville State School, a maximum security juvenile facility.
Upon entering the stadium, retired Dallas Cowboys players Marc Colombo and Willie Pile boomed: “Get that foot down!” “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon — come to me!” “Finish strong! Head and eyes up!” With this kind of intensity, it was hard to tell if Dragon Stadium was the site of a movie audition or an actual team tryout. Would-be athlete-actors maneuvered combine drills, leaving drenched in sweat by the time their group’s audition was over.
Hundreds of men from across the state, many of them local, came out for the auditions hosted by Eterné Films. The movie is about the love and support showered on the underdog team – Gainesville – when fans of Faith decided to cheer for the opposing team. Low on players and even lower on touchdowns, the Gainesville school did not win, but they felt like superheroes. The movie is named after the convergence of two unlike teams: “two teams, two cultures, One Heart,” according to movie materials.
Producers Steven Riach and Russell Lake were both in attendance during the night of the fateful game between Grapevine and Gainesville in 2008, and Riach calls the story “better than fiction.”
“We saw this all unfold before us and said this has got to be a story that we have to tell,” Lake said.
On-set coach Mike Sheldon said he’s looking for actors who can really pass as football stars. “You can tell who’s an athlete when they go through these drills,” said Sheldon. None of the actors threw or caught footballs during Tuesday’s drills – that’s saved for Wednesday. “Once you get the footballs out, you can see who the real football players are,” said Sheldon. He added: “We got a lot of great guys; it’s going to be hard to narrow it down.”
Dallas native Tyler Moody made it through first cuts and got the “golden ticket,” as he put. Moody played football at the junior college level but said acting is his ultimate goal. Having already done some stunt work for Friday Night Lights, Moody was confident and determined about his current opportunity. “I’m going for this 100 percent, full-fledged,” he said.
The production team was impressed with Chris Harrington of Dallas, who was a walk-on auditioner who tried out for the first day on Tuesday. One of the bigger guys on the field — he was trying out for a lineman position — Harrington’s determination and agility wowed the staff. “I think I have a good opportunity to make it,” he said.
Others weren’t so lucky. Broderick Hopkins of Arlington auditioned for the part of an outside linebacker but didn’t make it past Tuesday’s cuts. He was still hopeful that he would be part of the production as an extra.
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