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NCAA Championship attracts auditions for lacrosse movie

Casting calls held at Rash Field for film 'Crooked Arrows' for lacrosse players who can act

By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun

6:42 PM EDT, May 28, 2011

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As the top four teams in college lacrosse battled it out Saturday in the NCAA Division I men's semifinals at M&T Bank Stadium, other lacrosse star hopefuls auditioned for the chance to appear in a movie about the sport.

About 250 auditioned at Rash Field in the Inner Harbor for the movie "Crooked Arrows," about a Native American high school lacrosse team that battles it out for a championship title in a prep school league. Many had experience on the field, while a few just came for the chance of a movie role.

"We're looking for incredible lacrosse players who look the right age. If they have a desire to act. We're looking for the reality of lacrosse," said the firm's director, Steve Rash.

From 2 p.m. to about 4 p.m., prospective actors ran different drills and met with the casting director, where their interviews were filmed.

"We had a great day. We definitely saw some great candidates that could be in the movie," said Mark Ellis with Sports Studio, who was evaluating the auditioners' athletic ability and lacrosse skill. "A lot of people did travel in, but the majority are from around here," he said.

Ellis said the crews were looking for players with extensive experience on the field. Beyond their lacrosse skills, he said they were looking at appearance, specifically Native American actors as well as people who had "that prep school look."

When asked about the lacrosse look, auditioner Brian Tran called it "flow."

"You have to have long hair, have to have the helmet tilted to cover your eyes, Nike socks," he said. He was wearing a "Jesuit Lacrosse" T-shirt, long black mesh shorts and long Nike socks, but his hair was shorter.

Tran, a junior in college from Northern Virginia, waited in line behind Devin Parnell, 18, who played for four years at City College High School.

"Neon is very stylish," among lacrosse players, Parnell laughed. "You've got to have confidence."

"You gotta have swag," Tran added.

Both said they came out because of the love for the game.

Following the physical audition, casting director Renee Haynes asked the auditioners several questions, including "What is the attack?" and "Have you ever done any acting before?"

Tran replied, "you've got to start somewhere."

Haynes asked Parnell, "Tell me what you love about the game?"

He responded into the camera, "The rush. I just love the intensity," he said.

Haynes said only about 15 percent of the auditioners said they had acting experience, including two with Screen Actors Guild cards.

"We are looking for kids who will be themselves," she said.

Haynes, who has done casting for "Twilight" and the sequels "New Moon and "Eclipse," is challenged with finding actors with lacrosse skills who can play the major roles of the Native American team members. But she was optimistic.

"I don't think it's going to be difficult at all," she said. "There are a lot of great Native American actors, but we need lacrosse players and desire," she said.

A second Baltimore casting call is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Filming is expected to begin in July, Rash said. He said Boston was chosen to serve as the backdrop because if its scenic prep schools.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

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