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The Suburbanite
  • Hundreds seek movie role in 'Underdogs,' to be filmed in Stark

  • Young men and women were eager to audition Saturday for the football-themed movie being filmed in Stark County this summer. Auditions in North Canton were for extra roles as football players and cheerleaders. “Underdogs” is being directed by Stark County native Doug Dearth.

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  • Young adults from throughout Stark County showed up Saturday to audition as an extra for the football-themed movie “Underdogs.”
    Auditions were for parts as cheerleaders and football players ages 18 to 24.
    More than 400 people auditioned at Hoover Auditorium at the former Hoover Co. complex, said Beth Dearth, a publicist for the movie, which will be filmed for five weeks starting July 16. Footage will be shot in North Canton and other parts of Stark County.
    The casting call had been expanded to anyone 10 years and older.
    HEARTTHROB ALERT
    Young men and women said they auditioned for the chance to take part in a film being made locally. Others allowed themselves to daydream for a moment and wonder if a bit part could lead to Hollywood stardom.
    Emily Matthews, 19, of North Canton, admitted she had extra motivation. The former Hoover High School cheerleader placed a hand over her chest at the thought of possibly being on the same set as young actor Charles Carver, who has appeared on the popular television show, “Desperate Housewives.”
    “I love him,” Matthews gushed. “He’s gorgeous. He’s a heartthrob. I just want to watch him while they’re filming.” Matthews said it’s also exciting for a movie to be filmed in North Canton. She joined two friends, Ali Grandjean and Morgan Nunez, at the
    audition. “It was just something fun to do,” said Grandjean, 19. “A once-in-a-lifetime thing to do. Even if it was just my leg in the movie.”
    FINDING TALENT
    Most of those who are picked for the movie will have small roles.
    But “they could see their face larger on the screen than they ever dreamed before,” Dearth said. However, those on the production crew said it’s possible to find young talent and expand their role to a spoken part.
    “The talent and the enthusiasm that’s walked through the door today, it’s been unbelievable,” Dearth said.
    Two professional actors from the Cleveland area have been selected for significant roles in “Underdogs,” said Lillian Pyles, Ohio casting director for the film. Lead actors include those who have appeared in major movies and hit television shows.
    Those with spoken parts are paid in accordance with the Screen Actors Guild, said Doug Dearth, a Stark County native and director of “Underdogs.”
    For smaller roles, it’s a way to be introduced to the film business, he said.
    Dearth, who has both an acting and film production background, said the movie crew is assembling two fictitious high school football teams. A significant portion of the film’s roughly $1 million budget is being financed by Stark County businessman Benjamin Suarez.
    ‘GREAT OPPORTUNITY’
    Page 2 of 2 - Those auditioning Saturday also traveled from outside the Canton area. Erin McClafferty, 20, of Streetsboro, is a cheerleader at Arizona State University.
    McClafferty has dreams of acting in movies and television. However, if that doesn’t work out, she plans to fall back on the degree she’s working toward in business law, with plans to specialize in entertainment law.
    “This is what I want to do,” she said of the audition.
    Averill Draper, 21, of Massillon, a former offensive lineman for Washington High School in Massillon, said he has appeared in some school plays. If selected for the movie, he said he would view it as a life experience. However, “I’m not opposed to being discovered (for a movie career),” he said, laughing.
    Caleb Laps, 21, of Perry Township, a former high school football standout at Perry High School, agreed.
    “It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “And if it leads to something else more than that, I’m happy.”
    Brent Reichert, of Tallmadge, is the senior human-resources manager for Riddell, which produces football equipment. Reichert, however, also enjoys working in the film business. He has appeared as an extra in movies, including “The Avengers.”
    “I’m not going to be Tom Hanks,” he said. “I’m not going to be Tom Cruise.” However, Reichert said he enjoys the “the magic that happens behind the cameras putting it all together.”