News that Disney plans to film a remake of The Lone Ranger, starring Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer (who played the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network) as the Ranger, in Colorado bucks the trend of filmmakers abandoning the state for cheaper locales -- a trend lawmakers are trying to reverse, as explained in our cover story, "The Reel West."
But big Hollywood pictures aren't the only kind of movies filmed here. The state is fertile ground for independent flicks too, such as Dutchman's Run, a Western that's currently looking for a few good actors.
Here's how the plot is described on the film's website:
In the wake of the Civil War, young soldier Clyde Barrett seeks to lose himself in the lawless highlands of the Rocky Mountain West. When the opportunity arises, he doesn't mind utilizing his skills as a sharpshooter to play mercenary for the virulent mine boss, Samuel Dresser. A brutal desert robbery soon leaves two dead and a pile of Dresser's money missing, and he is sent into a tireless, violent pursuit of the assailants with Clyde in tow. When rancher Callie Greene is thrust into the middle of the conflict, Clyde must weigh his loyalties against his instincts in order to protect an innocent girl from the small war that seems to be mustering around her.
Director Jeff Nixon is a Denver native and a University of Colorado grad. In fact, nearly everyone associated with the film has Colorado ties -- from writer David Andrew, who lives in Eldorado Springs, to producer and Boulder native Angie Gaffney, to Denver-bred costume designer Carolyn Thacker. "We're looking to focus on getting a lot of people in Colorado involved in this," Nixon says by phone from Chicago, where he's getting a film degree at DePaul University. "We're filming there. We're from there."
"Colorado has a special place in my heart," Gaffney says.
The crew behind Dutchman's Run always knew they wanted to film in Colorado, lower film incentives be damned. A Colorado Western was Nixon's vision from the start -- and he and his friends built the script from there. "When you're putting together a low-budget film, you're looking for bang for your buck," he says, "and Colorado is gorgeous."
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They hope to start filming this summer, and though many of the main characters have been cast, they're auditioning for 25 supporting roles. Nixon says they're mostly looking for men in their 20s and 30s to play soldiers, miners and couriers. "The movie focuses on post-Civil War, on boys coming out of five or six years of mayhem that restructured the way they view the world, and now they have to reintegrate into society," he says.
"We're really looking for characters," Nixon adds -- people with memorable faces who can look like they've been living in the wild, wild wilderness. "The best way to put it is the mountain-man feel," he says, though he's quick to add that actors don't have to forgo showers and deodorant to audition. "Growing out hair and beards and manginess is great," Nixon says, "but that's characterization we can do over time."
To audition, send a headshot and resume to casting director Angela Gaylor at DutchmansRunCasting@gmail.com. Casting will begin in March. A first round of auditions will be conducted by video and a second round will be conducted live. Follow us on Twitter! Like us on Facebook!