Close Shots: September 2002
by Michele Deradune
Well, it's been a real hot summer and isn't it nice to look forward to the cooler temps of fall?! Speaking of hot, it looks like Austin is becoming a hotter location for big-budget films lately too. The remake of the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE has been filming since July and expects to wrap soon. This film is directed by MARCUS NISPEL. Director MICHAEL BAY (who directed PEARL HARBOR), is a Producer of the remake of this horror film classic. I'm not much of one for bloody-type films, but have to admit this one holds a special place in my heart for giving a close friend of mine enough lines to become SAG-eligible for life. At least, I think so. Fourteen words in a union film makes you eligible, or so I hear, and she had thirteen words - but Director Marcus Nispel added one word to her part during the actual filming. Yea! Interestingly, Producer Michael Bay is active on a director's committee against violence. And I hear Nispel is a really super person. Hmmm. Maybe I will have to go see this one...
Another big-budget film, a comedy, is set to begin shooting here in Austin on September 27th -SECONDHAND LIONS, which will be directed by TIM McCANLIES (IRON GIANT and DANCER, TEXAS POP. 81) will star Academy Award winners MICHAEL CAINE and ROBERT DUVALL and Academy Award-nominee HALEY JOEL OSMENT (that cute little boy in SIXTH SENSE and PAY IT FORWARD). I have seen the script and this film is going to be a lot of fun! And, oh my heart, this film also holds a very special place in it (my heart, I mean). For years and years I have been hearing how the big Hollywood movies that come to film in town never give the local talent a chance to audition for anything but the smallest speaking (and non-speaking) roles. However, this time it's different. Director McCanlies is auditioning Texas talent for at least two principal roles in the feature film - one with ten lines, the other with fourteen lines. YES...! LA Casting Directors ED JOHNSTON and EMILY SCHWEBER contacted local talent agents for headshot/resume submissions, reviewed the submissions and selected a smaller number to be auditioned for the roles of HELEN and RALPH, gold-digging relatives of the aging and eccentric GARTH and HUB (Caine and Duvall, respectively). Thank you, Mr. Tim McCanlies. The AUSTIN CHRONICLE recently quoted McCanlies as heralding Robert Duvall as the "Patron Actor-Saint of Texas" - but I have a feeling that McCanlies himself - by being one of the first big-budget film directors to give Texas talent a chance at principal roles - may soon be hailed as the "Patron Director-Saint of Texas"! We'll all be on the edge of our seats to see what transpires in this regard...
Well, and there is certainly more going on in town right now than even the wrapping up and starting up activities of the production crews of these two films, but for now, as one of my favorite cartoon characters, Porky Pig, used to say, "Th-th-th-th-that's All, Folks!"
Michele Déradune is a single mom, film actress and voice talent represented by Ciao! Talents. She had a principal supporting role as Mel in SNAKE TALES (Winner "Best Independent Film Comedy" at the Gene Siskel Film Center), was featured in an unscripted movie by actor/director KEVIN SPACEY, and was the voice of Wakana in the English version of the Japanese anime SAKURA WARS 2. You can see Michele's online acting résumé at http://www.deradune.com/resume.htm.