June 13, 2010

Preview of Everybody Loves Whales

Drew Barrymore film will be shot in Alaska

WHALES:  Film is based on real event that took place near Barrow.

By Kyle Hopkins
How's this for a plot twist? The next major movie about Alaska is actually being filmed here.

A production company plans to begin shooting "Everybody Loves Whales," a $30 million movie starring Drew Barrymore, this September in Alaska, the executive producer said Friday.

The film is based on the 1988 attempt to rescue three gray whales trapped by sea ice near Barrow, though the majority of filming will take place in Anchorage. Barrymore plays a Greenpeace worker while John Krasinski--Jim from NBC's "The Office"--portrays a small-town news reporter covering the story.

The filmmakers are looking for Alaskans to play dozens of roles with casting to begin right away, executive producer Stuart Besser said in a phone interview.

"There's at least 1,000 extras, and there are probably about 30 to 40 speaking roles that we would attempt to get in Anchorage," said Besser, who recently served as executive producer on "The Losers" and "3:10 to Yuma."
You oughta be in picturesCan you speak Inupiaq? Fly a helicopter? Are you by chance a Russian sailor?

The makers of “Everybody Loves Whales,” a movie shooting in Anchorage and Barrow this fall, may be looking for you.
And:The filmmakers are looking to fill about 30 paid speaking roles, ranging from Russian-speaking sailors to a helicopter pilot with a valid license, reporters, restaurant workers, a teacher and a Greenpeace worker, among others. About 10 are Alaska Native roles.

Schildt said they’re “keenly interested” in casting an Inupiaq man between 50 and 65 years old who speaks Inupiaq, and an Inupiaq boy between 10 and 13. “(The boy) doesn’t need to speak his language, but those are two key roles that we’re looking for,” she said.
Comment:  See how easy it is to cast Inuit and Inupiaq actors? Drew Barrymore and company are confident they can find enough Native people without putting out a "Caucasian and others" casting call.

Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) and Sikumi are among the films that have managed to cast Inuit actors. It's starting to look as though remote northern locations are no excuse.

Too bad The Last Airbender, 30 Days of Night, and other productions set in Alaska didn't take this approach. Instead they made excuses for their white-friendly casting choices.

Don't complain that there aren't enough ethnic actors for your movie unless you've tried to find them. First make the effort, as Barrymore is doing. If you can't find enough actors for some reason, then give us your excuses.

For more on casting Native movies, see Ed Harris on Native Casting, My Racebending Interviews, and Denzel Washington as JFK?

Below:  "Barrow residents watch the California gray whales surface for air in one of the breathing holes carved by rescuers in the Beaufort Sea ice off Point Barrow, Alaska, during the two-week California gray whale rescue effort which gained worldwide media coverage in October 1988." (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News)

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