Casting Call: Award-Winning Filmmaker Patrik-Ian Polk Seeks Actors For New Feature 'Blackbird'

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by Tambay A. Obenson
February 18, 2013 11:40 AM
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Here's a casting notice I received for the 5th feature film from Patrik-Ian Polk, the acclaimed filmmaker (nominated for 2 Independent Spirit Awards & 3 Image Awards, winner of a GLAAD Award for Best Film) of LGBT-themed indie films like Noah's Arc, Punks, and most recently, The Skinny, and creator of the Noah's Arc series for the Logo network.

Titled Blackbird, Patrick is seeking actors for the roles as defined in the notice that follows. Actors are to submit their replies to CASTINGBLACKBIRD@Gmail.com. The scheduled shoot start date is about a month away, so if you think you qualify for any of the roles, and are interested, you're encouraged to submit requested info ASAP.

So without further ado, here's the notice. Feel free to pass around and share within or even outside your network:

SAG Feature Film - Rated R

Casting Director: Matthew Morgan, CDC

Producers: Carol Ann Shine

Audition Date(s): VIDEO SUBMISSIONS ACCEPTED

Shoot dates: Starts March 11th - Shoot will be 18 days

Location: Hattiesburg, MS

Rate: “Movie is low-budget SAG rates"

Suggests: Please suggest asap. Kindly include the city in which each talent lives in the submission notes under each photo, so that we can either line up a live casting session in the cities closest or we can ask for a video audition to be sent if need be.

Sides/ Script: Sides will be emailed to those in serious consideration for an audition and posted to sides express.

"BLACKBIRD"

Synopsis: Talented teenage singer RANDY ROUSSEAU struggles with religion, sexuality, a troubled home life and other high school woes in a small Southern Baptist town, ultimately learning to love his true self...

Please note that for all characters who are minors – we are casting 18 + who read/look younger. Please see notes regarding sex scenes or partial nudity.

Talent Specs

1. RANDY ROUSSEAU: 17 going on 18. African-American and very good looking with an amazing singing voice. He’s a sensitive, good hearted boy, raised strictly Baptist, who is desperate to be a perfect Christian. Guilt-ridden and in deep denial about his romantic feelings for boys, Randy dreams each night about his secret crush Todd, then prays feverishly for forgiveness, promising to change. His two best friends, Efrem and Crystal, encourage him to come out and promise to support him all the way, but growing up in a conservative, stifling, small southern town, Randy is petrified to acknowledge, let alone reveal, his true self. It doesn’t help that Randy is still struggling with the apparent kidnapping of his little sister years ago, his parents’ subsequent split, and troubling visions of blood and death. While he tries to come to terms with all his issues, Randy and his theatre friends, including Todd, try to stage a boy/boy version of Romeo and Juliet that shocks the town, and Randy meets Marshall, a film student at the Junior college, who tries to teach him that being gay is nothing to be ashamed of… ACTOR MUST BE COMFORTABLE WITH GAY LOVE SCENES. THE ABILITY TO SING A BIG PLUS BUT NOT MANDATORY. THE ABILITY TO PLAY GUITAR or PIANO A PLUS, BUT ALSO NOT NECESSARY. Ideally, we are looking for a fantastic, naturally gifted singer! LEAD (1)

2. MARSHALL: A really, really, REALLY cute, white gay 21 year old film student at the local Jr. College. Drives a funky cool convertible and develops a rapid crush on Randy, who auditions for his student film. Endearingly horny but also patient and kind, Marshall takes Randy under his wing and attempts to teach him it’s not shameful to be gay. Marshall prefers creating “films” (art) to mere “movies” and loves that Randy, “ripe for corruption”, never curses. One of the few un-wealthy white boys in the area, Marshall grew up in a junkyard and still lives at home with his parents and three brothers, a casually tight-knit group who welcome Randy without judgment… LEAD (42) Marshall must be comfortable with gay love scene.

3. CLAIRE ROUSSEAU. In her late 30s or 40s and African-American, she is Randy’s extremely religious mother still reeling from the unexplained disappearance of her daughter Chrissie six years ago. A woman in desperate need of closure, she copes with her grief by popping prescription drugs and continues to blanket the town with flyers and pray to God her daughter will return. She senses that she and her family are being punished for something, and when she suspects that Randy is gay, she knows deep in her soul that must be the reason. We get the feeling she will be lost to grief and despair if somebody doesn’t step up and take care of her, but Randy is in no position to offer the kind of help she needs, and her husband Lance, having needed time apart from her, is not emotionally available… LEAD (1)

4. EFREM: African American, Latino or caucasian. This gay 17-year old skater boy is one of Randy’s best friends who jokingly mocks Randy for his piety. Foul-mouthed, sarcastic, godless and jovial, Efrem can’t stand living in a small town with small minds and longs for escape. He tries to convince Randy that cursing, masturbation and sex are perfectly natural, especially for 17 year old boys, but Efrem himself is a virgin who gets most of his kicks by shocking and horrifying his neighbors. He and Crystal suspect Randy might be gay and encourage him to come out. They’re hurt when Randy attempts to distance himself from them, but always remain loyal to their friend… THE ABILITY TO RIDE A SKATEBOARD A BIG PLUS. ACTOR MUST BE COMFORTABLE WITH GAY LOVE SCENE. LEAD (4).

5. CRYSTAL BAKER: This African-American or Bi-racial princess is 17 years old, nonjudgmental and gorgeous. She’s cheerful and kindhearted with a pretty singing voice. Best friends with Efrem and Randy since forever, she walks with them to school every day and tries to help Randy come to terms with his sexuality. Though every guy in school would love to get with Crystal, she decides she’d rather lose her virginity to Randy… LEAD (8)

6. TODD WATERSON: 17 years old. African-American. A senior in high school, extremely handsome, gorgeous, and lean, he’s the quarterback of the football team but also loves theatre and sings in the church choir with Randy. He knows that other students believe he’s gay (because he hangs out with Randy & company), but he doesn’t care. He’s serious about his girlfriend Leslie, but also has a very flirtatious friendship with Randy. When he and Leslie decide to lose their virginity, they count on Randy covering for them at Bible study, and even ask to use Randy’s bed. When Leslie becomes pregnant, Todd fears that he’s ruined both their lives, and he’s devastated when Leslie’s family turns against them... THE ABILITY TO SING AND PLAY GUITAR A BIG PLUS, BUT NOT NECESSARY. LEAD (1) Todd must be comfortable kissing a guy.

7. LESLIE: Todd’s waifish, pretty, fun, African-American girlfriend. She engages in lusty PDA (public displays of affection) with Todd all around school. A preacher’s daughter with rebellious views, she’s the one who suggests a gay version of Romeo and Juliet for the student-honed production. She even admits to thinking “boy on boy action” is hot, and doesn’t get jealous when Todd and Randy kiss during rehearsals. Upon becoming pregnant, however, she lashes out at Todd… LEAD (10)

8. PASTOR CRANDALL: Leslie’s strict, African-American Baptist father (40’s or older) and the town pastor, he sermonizes on Sundays and leads the weekly bible study group. He also provides neighborly comfort to Clair, Randy’s mom, when she worries about Randy’s whereabouts. He refuses to speak with Todd after Leslie becomes pregnant, shunning the confused lovesick teenager. When Randy admits to questioning his sexuality, Pastor Crandall agrees to “deliver” the boy from Satan in a harrowing private exorcism. Randy is later shocked to discover that the Pastor has been keeping secrets of his own… LEAD (36)

9. LANCE ROUSSEAU: Randy’s estranged father, he’s African-American and in his late 30s or 40s. Though not nearly as religious as Randy’s mother Claire, he’s not a typical deadbeat dad either. After his daughter Chrissie was apparently abducted 6 years ago, he had trouble dealing with the loss and split to look after himself and think things over for a while. It’s clear he misses his family and loves them very much, as evidenced by his daily drives along Randy’s walking route to school, where he calls out to his son and tries to engage him in discussion. When his son comes to him in crisis, Lance steps in to help in a major way, revealing his own adolescent struggles with identity… LEAD (1)

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1 Comment

  • Henry C Scott | February 22, 2013 10:47 AMReply

    This is a story that needs to be told! I grew up in a not so small, but very southern town in Alabama. I was raised Baptist and attended church in some form or fashion most days of the week. I was a young layman; I was a Jr Deacon; I participated in Sunday school; I was a Christian Debonair( male debut into Christian society) and I sang with the church and various other choirs. I always knew that I was different from all the other boys in my neighborhood and in school. This couldn't have been any more evident when my mother asked me upon arriving home after my first day of school if I'd met any new friends. I went on to share how I had three new girlfriends and one new special guy friend. She sort of shrugged her shoulders and carried on as usual until I, after many years later, reminded her of that first day of school and our brief conversation. She surprisingly had archived that conversation awaiting the moment it would resurface. There were a lot of scriptures and prayers in her arsenal for the defense of "the enemy's attack". You see, my mother was not only my mother, she was an educator, school administrator and minister of music. She had been patiently awaiting this moment and was more prepared to defend her stance on the issue than I could have ever imagined. It was not an easy conversation for either of us, and although she still does not approve my lifestyle, she has chosen to love her son. There is so much more to my story and I'd love to share it, however, time and space prohibits it. Once again, thank you so much for sharing Randy's story. When you tell it- tell it right...!

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