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Lights Camera Action!

October 27th, 2011

This summer, JCU students stole the limelight in their hometowns, starring as extras, stand-ins and in one case, a cast role. While each experience was different, they found one similarity: it was the opportunity of a lifetime.

Luke Sebbens, stand-in for Taylor Lautner in “Abduction”

Senior Luke Sebbens was the stand-in for Taylor Lautner in the recently released movie, “Abduction.”

Although he will not be in the actual movie itself, his role as a stand-in was essential for the framing all of Lautner’s scenes.

“Whenever they’re lighting the scene, they [the actors] go back to their trailers and stand-ins acted out the scene for the directors,” said Sebbens. This helps the directors figure out how the scene should happen when the lighting and set were prepared for the actors.

Since he had to be on set for most of the entire movie, most of Sebbens’ summer was devoted to “Abduction.” He was on set for the entire duration. Shooting started July 12 and it ended sometime mid-September. Filming was everyday during the week and the hours varied.

“Some nights I only had to do two hours. The average was 16 hours a day,” Sebbens said.

In addition to the great contacts he made with Hollywood producers and actors, he had the opportunity to face a competitive audition field. Originally, he was just auditioning to be an extra; but out of about 2,000 candidates, he was chosen as one of three who were called back for the stand-in part.

“There were three other kids who got called back, and they chose me,” said Sebbens. Overall, Sebbens feels his time on set was a fantastic experience.

He hopes to pursue an acting career of his own, and really enjoyed learning from all of the great actors like Sigourney Weaver and Taylor Lautner.

Jillian Dunn, extra in “The Dark Knight Rises”

Junior Jillian Dunn was in the most recent installation of the Batman series, “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Last year, while browsing the Pittsburgh Steelers’ game schedule online, she saw a link to be an extra in the film.

Dunn followed this link and signed herself and some of her friends up for the experience.

Since the producers chose Pittsburgh as their Gotham City, they needed to fill Heinz Field with fans for the “Gotham Rogues” football game scene.

This was a dream come true for Steelers fan Dunn. The producers chose black and gold as the colors for the team, and Dunn was excited to sport her own black and gold all day in support of Pittsburgh’s newest team – the Gotham Rogue.

“They gave us Rogue Terrible Towels,” said Dunn, who was on set that day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“Not only will I get to check ‘being in a movie’ off of my bucket list, but I’m really anticipating going with my friends next summer and seeing it,  knowing that I was in the new Batman movie,” said Dunn.

The film stars Christian Bale as Batman, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, and many other characters from the previous “Dark Knight” movies.

In addition to all of the returning characters, Anne Hathaway will be introduced as Catwoman, and Tom Hardy will be introduced as Bane. The film will be released in July of 2012.

Mike Brownyard, cast as the character “Lex” in “King’s Faith”

Senior Mike Brownyard realized luck was on his side when he was cast as the character “Lex” in the film “King’s Faith.”

Shot in his hometown of  Rochester, N.Y., Brownyard was chosen for the character of Lex after one of the actors had been let go from the part due to diversity conflicts in casting.

It was through his BEDROC (Brownyard’s hip-hop duo) ties that he caught a break: a man Brownyard records with was friends with the film’s director, and helped him get the part.

Originally his role had a mere six lines, but while filming, his chemistry with the other actors changed that. “I ended up getting a lot more scripted parts that they added in after I got on,” said Brownyard, who was on set for six days. The senior even had the chance to do his own stunts in the final scene of the film, which is set in a cemetary.

Besides the opportunity of acting on a set, he said the most rewarding part of being cast was receiving his Screen Actors Guild card, which labels him as a certified actor, placing him in the Screen Actors Guild database for any director looking to cast actors in the future.

“It separates you from anyone else who is trying to be an actor; it was probably the greatest benefit that I got out of the experience,” he said. The movie is set to be released in the spring of 2012.