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Texas State theatre and dance students to be in Linklater movie


Selected Texas State students will perform in “Bernie,” the latest movie by Austin-based Richard Linklater. Shirley MacLaine (left) and Jack Black will star in the production.


Several students from Texas State’s Department of Theatre and Dance will be involved in acting and dancing in a new movie directed by Austin-based maverick director Richard Linklater. The film shoot is slated to take place Friday in Lubbock for Linklater’s movie, “Bernie” based on a 1998 story in Texas Monthly.

The students were cast from a call to fill the roles of townspeople and students in a fictional community college production of “The Music Man.” The dance segment will be choreographed by Robin Lewis, the head of Texas State’s musical theatre dance program.

Out of the 250 hopefuls who showed for the open casting call in Austin, only 23 were selected. Eight of them were Texas State students.  The students include Jennifer Foster, Madelyn Shaffer, Colin Bevis, Ian Saunders, Tim Heller, Rachel Hull-Ryde, Jaqueline Bloom and Trevor McGinnis.

Kaitlin Hopkins, who heads Texas State’s musical theatre program, said that the opportunity for the students to participate in a major motion picture is both a good career start and a learning experience for young performers.

“It’s very different learning in the classroom than when you have to go out in the world and do it,”  said Hopkins.  “I think it’s a very important aspect of the learning process that they both have the opportunity to audition and to work professionally.”

The film stars Shirley MacLaine and Jack Black. “‘Bernie” is based on an article that appeared in Texas Monthly about a Carthage undertaker and his confession of murdering his wealthy companion.

Hopkins said that working with seasoned film actors will prepare the students for the realities of the profession. She said she is confident that the students will be well prepared and ready for anything the business sends their way.

“I think it also demystifies the business,” Hopkins said. “It makes it accessible.  Being around a big celebrity for the first time—that’s always exciting and makes it very real. I’m not sure anything will surprise them.  They know what to expect.  They’ll just be happy to be there.”