Charleston Daily Mail

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Marshall sets up movie hotline

Samantha L. Thomas
Daily Mail staff

Thursday February 09, 2006

For anyone who has ever wanted to make it onto the silver screen, now may be the time.

Marshall University has set up a hotline for people interested in playing an extra in the movie to be made by Warner Brothers studios about the devastating 1970 plane crash that left 75 from the Marshall community dead, including the football team and several coaches.

People can call (304) 696-3461 and leave contact information, including a name and phone number, to be considered as an extra. Filming begins March 20, which is the first day of spring break for students.

The contact information will be logged chronologically and given to Warner Brothers, which will decide which applicants to use as extras.

Keith Spears, vice president for institutional advancement, said Warner Brothers also has agreed to give broadcast and theater students some on-set experience, which could be used as internship credit.

Corley Dennison, dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, said the school is packaging some resumes and applications of journalism students who could potentially work behind the scenes on the set.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for the students and the School of Journalism and Mass Communications," Dennison said. "They're going to get to see how a movie's made firsthand. It'll be great experience for them."

Josh Chapman, a 22-year-old senior education major from Charleston, said he has taken theater classes with an emphasis on audio production. He hopes he gets a chance to be involved in the movie.

"I think that it is an excellent opportunity because there's absolutely no way we could get on a closed set in Hollywood, but we'll have access to that now because we're Marshall students," Chapman said.

Demetrius Law, a 19-year-old business major from Beckley, said he is looking forward to get a chance to make his big-screen debut as an extra.

"I would like to probably make it into the Hollywood spotlight," Law said. "How many times (do) you hear about a whole football team getting killed? They had to completely rebuild."

As for the extras, Spears has a bit of advice.

"They want Marshall University students to play Marshall University students in the film," Spears said.

He is unsure what the studio would look for specifically, but he assumed they would want people who looked like they were living in the early 1970s.

Spears also said Warner Brothers is looking for cars made from 1958 to 1971.

"You sort of want to reserve judgment until you've seen the final product," said Donald Van Horn, dean of the College of Fine Arts. "But I think it has the potential to show the entire country what certainly is a wonderful story."

Van Horn said the movie probably would fit the genre of sports-oriented films released over the past few years -- like the current basketball drama "Glory Road."

Matthew McConaughey, once People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive," and Matthew Fox from the TV series "Lost" will star in the movie.

Parts of the movie also will be filmed in Atlanta, and the post-production process is expected to begin soon thereafter.