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Tantrums and tears at Twilight audition

Story featured A1 in the Vancouver Sun, April 4, 2009

VANCOUVER — Tears and arguments broke out Sunday as hundreds of first nations teenagers from all over North America were turned away from a casting call for New Moon, the sequel to last year’s vampiric blockbuster Twilight.

Some of the young people, who had flown in from as far away as Florida, began lining up as early as 5 a.m. at Second Avenue Studios in Vancouver’s Main Street area.

So when casting assistants told the crowd at 12:30 p.m. that no more people would be allowed in the building, the hundreds left outside were heartbroken.

Some even turned on those who had barely made it through, hurling accusations of cutting in line.

Rosanna Razor, 22, was one of the disappointed fans who didn’t get a chance to meet the casting director.

“It sucks,” she said. “I was here since 9 a.m. I came up from Seattle.”

The crowd flooded to the open casting call as a result of ads posted on Craigslist a few weeks ago for “any first nations/aboriginal actors and actresses between the ages of 15 and 25” available to film between March and May.

New Moon, based on the second book in the Twilight series, follows the main character Bella and her time spent with friend and Quileute Jacob Black on the La Push reservation in northern Washington.

“This is more than we expected,” said Bim Narine, a casting assistant at Vancouver’s Aikins/Cossey. “It’s definitely a good turnout.”

The fans and aspiring actors in the crowd, which ran all the way down Second Avenue and around the corner of Crowe Street, came clutching copies of New Moon and headshots.

Some, like 17-year-old Jenny Gustafson, wrapped themselves in blankets to fight the cold and ease the jitters.

“I’m from the San Juan Islands near Friday Harbor,” the half-Athabascan teenager said, huddled in a black-and-blue fleece wrap.

Gustafson and her mother, Mary Long, had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to catch a 6 a.m. ferry.

Even though Gustafson had no previous acting experience, her love for Stephenie Meyer’s series was more than enough motivation for the trek.

“I like any romance novel, and this one was kind of unique because of the forbidden love thing,” she said.

“I thought something would come up and she’d forget about it,” Long laughed at the mention of this teenage craze. “I hate to get up early. But she pushed through.

“Then again, it’s an experience,” she continued. “I told these guys around me who are getting discouraged and worried that, either they’re going to be in it or they’ll say, ‘Hey, I was standing beside that guy!’ So that’s gotta mean something, right?”

Jason Allen, 22, a firefighter from Portland, had some friends who saw the ad and insisted he come up to Vancouver.

He was happy he did.

Just before noon, Allen walked out of the studio with a smile on his face, a piece of white paper in his hand and an audition time scheduled for the afternoon.

“I haven’t even had a chance to look at the script yet!” he said, pointing to the dialogue on the page in his hand, his voice shaking with excitement.

Allen also admitted to not reading the entire series, save for a bit of Twilight.

However, the buzz surrounding the New Moon film—and the thought of taking a vacation from work—was appealing.

“If I get it, that’s great. If not, I still love my job,” he said.

Scripts were only handed out to successful candidates who met casting director Stuart Aikins’ pre-screening requirements.

Although there was some mystery about which movie the casting call was for, the audition text, which blacked out any familiar Twilight names, was still recognizable to fans.

One script was pointed out as being the dialogue between Bella and Embry at the bottom of page 327 in the book.

Razor, who was disappointed about not getting into the studio, said she wanted to be one of the aboriginals to promote the first nations nationality in the movie.

“This is a proud moment for me,” she said. “Native people don’t always get opportunities like this and I thought it would be really cool to be a part of it.”

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