Hobnobbing with the stars

First Posted: 12/6/2009

I know a movie star.
Okay, that might be overstating things just a wee bit, but I watched a movie over the weekend called State of Play, on a DVD loaned to me by local actor Dan Hornak.
And you can probably guess, its Dan who is in the film.
Hes the first to tell you his role was a non-speaking extra. One of the movies stars is Ben Affleck, who plays a Congressman, and you can catch a glimpse of Dan during a Congressional hearing.
Another one of the stars is Russell Crowe, who plays a scruffy looking reporter. You get another look at Dan at a big social shindig that Crowe crashes. I have to confess, I missed seeing him while watching the movie. I put the DVD in specifically to catch sight of him, even telling my two sons I know someone in this movie. Then the story line became so engaging I forgot to look for him and my boys began doubting my story.
After the movie was over I went back through and first found his scene in the party. There he is, I said, pointing to the top of his head the only part of him that was visible at the time. Really, thats him! A second later he moved and you could even see his face. See, I told you I knew someone in the movie.
They werent all that impressed.
But I am. Not because Dan was in a major film, but simply because he enjoys acting, and hes pursuing that enjoyment in a number of venues. Many of you might recognize his name from his work on the stage at the Cherry Orchard Theatre in Ararat, Va. He was one of the stars of the show It Happened on the Blue Ridge Parkway, this past summer. Dan has been around acting and filming in some capacity or another for years, and he continues to pursue acting not because it offers a chance for money or stardom, but because it is an artistic pursuit he enjoys.
Ive always admired folks who do this. Ive done a bit of acting, and some writing, and I can tell you it can be hard work. Acting takes quite a bit of time and energy to learn lines, master stage movement, build timing and trust with others on the stage, and it takes more than a tiny bit of intestinal fortitude. Lets face it, going on stage in front of a live audience, taking the chance of looking like an idiot should you forget your lines, is not for everyone.
But in the end, an actor goes on the stage simply because theres something there which keeps calling him.
Its the same with other artistic pursuits. Writing takes a great deal of discipline to stay with through lonely hours at the keyboard, and I image its the same with painting, music, sculpture, virtually any other artistic endeavor. To see someone stay with it simply for the enjoyment of the work is wonderful.
You can see a lot of these sorts of people locally. Check out productions at The Andy Griffith Theatre, visit Cherry Orchard Theatre next year, or maybe visit The Gallery Group on Pine Street.
And if you get a chance, check out State of Play. Youll get to see a pretty good movie, and you can tell everyone youre watching it with I know someone in this movie.
John Peters is the editor of The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at [email protected] or at 719-1931.

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