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Screen gems

By LEVI AGEE SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

This article was published March 8, 2013 at 3:02 a.m.

— For a few months now, I’ve been hearing rumors and whispers coming out of Fayetteville about a film called Greater, about the life of Brandon Burlsworth, the Arkansas Razorbacks lineman and folk hero who has been called “greatest walk-on story in the history of college football.” Finally I’ve been able to confirm at least some of them.

Kim Pease, a Fayetteville-based casting agent, is working with the Toronto-based casting agency Morgan Casting and says the film is in the works, and that while it will be a Screen Actors Guild shoot (which means most of the actors employed will be members of the guild), they are actively seeking extras, especially actual football players to make up the teams in the film.

Casting calls will be held in Fayetteville on March 15-17, (there will also be casting calls in Mississippi and New Orleans), with callbacks in Fayetteville on April 6 and 7. Shooting begins April 29 and is scheduled to continue through June 7, mostly on location in Fayetteville. There is an extensive list of roles being cast for the film on Morgan Casting’s Facebook page and you can e-mail castinggreater@gmail.com with a photo and/or resume or visit www.morgancasting.com for more details.

Burlsworth was an undersize offensive lineman who wasn’t highly recruited after high school but who went on to become a star player for the Razorbacks and not only won a scholarship but became an All-American and an early draft pick for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. He was also the first Razorbacks player to earn a master’s degree before exhausting his playing eligibility. Tragically, he was killed in a car crash in 1999 on his way home after a workout 11 days after being drafted by the Colts.

Aside from his football skills, Burlsworth was renowned by his black horn rimmed glasses and resemblance to comedian Drew Carey, as well as his strength of character and Christian values. Burlsworth’s story was told in Jeff Kinsley’s 2001 book Through the Eyes of a Champion: The Brandon Burlsworth Story.

I expect to have more details and interviews as the production pans out.

Levi Agee is a filmmaker and programmer for the Little Rock Film Festival. Write him at levifilm@gmail.com

MovieStyle, Pages 35 on 03/08/2013

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