Local makes the big screen

First Posted: 5/28/2009

Folks turning out for tonights showing of State of Play at the Downtown Cinema may see a face that is familiar.
No, not Ben Affleck, nor Russell Crowe.
Dan Hornak.
The Mount Airy resident plays a U.S. Congressman and makes two non-speaking appearances on screen once while sitting near Affleck during a Congressional committee meeting, and a second time near Crow and Jeff Daniels.
Hornak said he auditioned for the show in response to a call for extras. At the time he and his wife were in the midst of selling their Maryland home to move full-time to what had been a vacation home in Mount Airy, and he was able to spare some time for the audition.
I had been in theater, taking an on-camera training course, and I worked for Congress for 20 years in the House recording studio, he said.
Apparently, that experience gave him the ability to project the air of a Congressman.
I went to a local photographer, had a head shot made, then I put together a resume and I went down there and got in line with three or four hundred other people, he said. I guess the thing that got me in was I dressed like a Congressman, with the suit, the gold lapel pin.
While the workday was long 13 hours most times he said it was worth it.
I got to see Ben Affleck break down 35 times. He did one shot 35 times … it was amazing to see how it was done, Hornak said.
Hornak said as a non-union member he didnt get to speak on camera. I just reacted, he said. Basically I was getting paid to react.
Hornak said he told few friends or relatives about the film, simply because until the final product is released no one is sure if their part is still in the film. Two of his scenes made the final cut.
What struck me was that there were people with much more experience than I had, and they got cut out of the film, and you can see me. I can say there I am.
Waiting on the chance to see himself on the big screen, he said, gave him time to wonder what his reaction would be. The movie was released earlier this year, including showings at Creekside Cinema in Mount Airy.
I thought for sure when we saw the movie I would stand up and shout Thats me, thats me, but I didnt. I managed to stay silent. I dont know, maybe Ill do that when it plays at the Downtown Cinema.
While Hornak doesnt expect to become a movie star, he has plans to continue acting. He has already appeared in an independent film called The Fifth Quarter, and he is working on a one-man show called Jake Thorne, Keeping The Legend Alive, a production based around the western characters played by John Wayne.
He also has appeared in television commercials and other stage productions.
Hornak said he thinks more people should give this sort of work a try.
What struck me is you just need an 8-by-10 picture of yourself and then just show up. If you have the mindset that Im not going there to be a movie star, Im just going to have a good time, then if you do experience rejection its OK.
Even if one does make it to onto the cast, its not glamorous work. I worked long hours for seconds on screen.
Contact John Peters at [email protected] or 719-1931.

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