Calculating the odds for a casting call back, and what movies mean for Quarter Horses.
Do you know how Journal Editor Christine Hamilton found herself at the casting call for Disney's The Lone Ranger? Keep reading to find out!
By Christine Hamilton for The American Quarter Horse Journal
I survived! My first (and only?) casting call was certainly something for the bucket list.
When I left the house at 5 a.m., I was prepared with water bottles, a change of clothes, and lip gloss. In a panic, I threw in a book of cowboy poetry to read from if I had to do something like that.
The drive was eight hours through spectacular Colorado country – across South Park, down the Arkansas River Valley and the Sawatch Range, across the San Luis Valley past the Sangre de Christos, through the San Juan Mountains and into Durango under the shadow of the La Platas. Now, that’s a movie.
When I finally got there and finally found parking at the tiny Fort Lewis College campus, I was stunned at the line! Apparently the Sande Alessi Casting people were, too. Hundreds were already lined up around the theater and out across campus toward the dorms a half hour before it officially started.
Present in full force: Grizzled, bearded men wearing cowboy hats and people who could do circus-style acts – backflips and balancing poses and impossible yoga contortions. There were college students, too, families, professors, Harley guys, professional casting-call-goers, you name it … and at least one American Quarter Horse journalist.
I spent the afternoon … in line. Forget possibly wanting to powder your nose (one tip I had found while surfing the Internet) or find a potty or eat – there was NO WAY I was losing my place in line. The best casting call advice I got ahead of time was to have water with me.
I stood in line to get into the theater, the line to get back into the theater, the line to get measurements taken, the one to get photos trimmed and stapled, and the line to double-check everything. Two-and-a-half hours of lines.
That meant I talked a lot to the people in line with me.
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Behind me, there was a 79-year-old elderly woman with gray hair streaked purple, yellow and pink wearing a bright red beatnik cap who wished me luck by saying, “Go, be a goddess.” The college psychology professor in front of me came because he had the afternoon free and “Why not?” He also thought I was wearing blue contact lenses.
There was one little girl accompanied by her family. A flaxen-haired pixie in a skirt and bright pink cowboy boots, she’d convinced her dad and mom to let her try out for the movie.
“Are you a cowgirl?” I asked her, expecting horse-craziness to go with the boots.
“No,” she said. I blinked, kind of surprised.
“Why did you want to come?”
“I love movies,” she said and grinned. Her mom later told me that she thinks Johnny Depp is handsome, even though he can look “a little weird.”
The closer we got to the theater, they handed out information forms to fill out – yellow for girls, blue for boys. At the urging of my co-standing-in-liners, I put “do yoga” to beef up my “special skills,” right under my horse stuff, LOL.
The rest of the experience was fairly non-dramatic. Once my group of 50 or so was inside the theater, Sande Alessi called for people to come up on stage to show off their “talent.” People belly-danced, did cartwheels, sang, did backflips, etc. I did NOT read a poem.
How close did I get to Johnny Depp? Well, I drove past the historic Strater Hotel where he was rumored to be staying. Somehow, I don’t think he was in town yet. My closer brush to Mr. Depp was with the woman who took my measurements – she played the old hag in the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie.
I dropped off my card and waved goodbye and good luck to my fellow line-standers. The casting company “will call in May,” if I’m lucky. What are the odds of that?
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As I walked away, I kept thinking about that little pixie who loves movies, not horses. I just finished editing an article for the May American Quarter Horse Journal, a status-of-the-horse industry piece, and Mike Jennings mentioned how much our breed has benefitted from at least two generations of people hooked on cowboys and horses by Western movies and TV shows. Mike points out that we can’t sit back and wait for people to come to horses on their own anymore.
It puts a modern Disney remake of the Lone Ranger story into a whole new light. I want that movie to show that sweet little pixie I was in line with – and thousands like her – how cool horses are! And I hope she’ll want one for her very own.
In any case, it was a fun experience and worth doing to go after a chance to see movie-making American Quarter Horses in action. It might be the only casting call I ever do.
Of course, there is a casting call for Tonto’s dog in Moab, Utah, in April. My dog, Tucker, already does a lot of tricks …
Did you read Journal Editor Christine Hamilton’s first blog, which tells the tale of how Christine found herself headed to Durango, Colorado, for a casting call of Disney’s The Lone Ranger? Read Christine’s first blog here.