WATERVILLE (AP) – A talent company will begin casting for 1,000 Mainers to serve as extras in the upcoming filming of the HBO movie, “Empire Falls.”

The filmmakers want ordinary Maine people to play factory workers, diner customers, bar patrons and football game spectators. About two dozen speaking parts may also need to be filled.

Open casting calls for extras are scheduled from noon to 7 p.m. on Friday and Monday at the American Legion State Headquarters in Waterville.

“It’s set in a Maine mill town, so we’ll be looking for Mainers of all types, but we’ll need some upscale tourist types as well,” said Cameron Bonsey, owner of the Maine Talent Source and coordinator of local casting for the film. “We expect a lot of people to show up, so the key will be for people to be patient in line.”

The movie is based on Richard Russo’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. The backdrop for the novel is struggling Empire Falls, a small mill town in fictional Dexter County, Maine, where residents hold out hope that a shuttered factory will one day reopen.

The movie stars actors Paul Newman, Ed Harris, Joanne Woodward and Helen Hunt.

Filming is slated to start in September, and is expected to be mostly in and around the central Maine mill towns of Waterville and Skowhegan.

The filmmakers, Falls Film Inc., are making the movie for cable channel HBO. Filmmakers have been in Maine for much of the summer, quietly scouting locations and hiring crew, while not publicly commenting on their plans.

But the announcement of a casting call, along with the hiring of a construction coordinator last month and the leasing of some local properties, indicates that the film almost certainly will be shot in Maine.

Patrick’s Pizza Joint in Skowhegan, for example, has been leased by the filmmakers for three months to serve as the Empire Grill in the movie, according to owner Debbie Zazulia.

Bonsey said the producers will also be keeping their eyes open at the casting sessions for Mainers to play any of about 30 speaking roles in the film, though preference will go to members of the Screen Actors Guild.

They will be looking, for instance, for a 16- or 17-year-old girl to play Tick, the daughter of lead character Miles Roby and his estranged wife, played respectively by Harris and Hunt. They will also be looking for two boys who look vaguely like Harris to play younger versions of Roby.

Newman, who is also the film’s executive producer, will play Roby’s father. Philip Seymour Hoffman will play Charlie Mayne, who had an affair with Roby’s mother.

AP-ES-08-06-03 0215EDT



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