Volunteer spectators will get a chance to win a 1988 Camaro.

SKOWHEGAN (AP) – Two Maine schools will draw a paycheck for next month’s filming of a football scene at Skowhegan Area High School for the HBO movie “Empire Falls.”

And a lucky extra in the scene will drive home in a hot red Camaro.

School officials in Skowhegan and at Waterville High School will be “casting about” for nearly 400 volunteer spectators willing to be available for shooting on Oct. 13 and 14 in exchange for donations to their respective schools, according to extras casting director Cameron Bonsey.

“The tough thing is going to be getting people to stay for both days,” Bonsey said. Many people have Oct. 13 off because it is Columbus Day, he noted, but it “may be tricky” to line up commitments for the second day. In addition, each school’s football team will be used as the teams in the movie.

The football game offers insights into the characters in “Empire Falls,” which is based on Richard Russo’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel. The film stars Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Ed Harris, Helen Hunt and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Skowhegan High School will have to come up with about 125 adults and 64 young people, said Principal Gilbert Eaton.

“I’m going to call my booster club and say ‘Here’s what I need.’ I’m sure the boosters club will just be ecstatic. This is very exciting,” he said.

Each of the schools stands to get a donation of more than $5,000, besides the $1,000-a-day filming payment, according to Waterville High School’s Principal Scott Phair.

“It’s a great and relatively easy fundraiser for people around here to support, plus they get to be in the film,” said Phair, who has a speaking role as a coach in the movie.

“They’ve asked us for about 150 extras with a ratio of two adults to every child, typical of what we’d see at a football game.” Phair said.

Volunteer spectators will get a chance to win a 1988 Camaro. With 24,000 miles on the odometer, the car was purchased for the movie’s character Jimmy Minty to drive in the film.

“This is a wonderful way to get more enthusiasm for the project and make sure they stay in that seat for a second day,” Bonsey said.


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