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There's a good chance that local actors will play at least one of the lead roles in two $20 million science-fiction movies based on L. Ron Hubbard's best-selling novel "Battlefield Earth."
At least that's the word from press agent Ed Margulies, who said first-round auditions for the roles of Jonnie and Chrissy have been narrowed from 350 actors and actresses to five — four from the Denver area and one from Dallas.
Marque Gritta, 25, and Dan Shadwell, 22, both of Denver, were asked to read a second time for the part of Jonnie.
The women competing for the role of Chrissy are Denver's Heather Guy, 22, Longmont's Tammy Murray, 19, and Dallas resident Larr Park Lincoln, 25.
"THEY'RE ALL in a dead heat for the parts," Margulies said.
"Bill (producer William J. Immerman) and Ken (Annakin, the director) were very excited with the performances of all five actors.
"They wanted an unknown and a local person to star in the film. They will be back in Denver around Aug. 19 to hold the second readings."
lmmerman is an independent producer with movies such as "Southern Comfort" and "Take This Job and Shove It" to his credit.
Annakin has directed "The Longest Day" and "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines."
THE SCREENPLAY for the film is being written by Abraham Polonsky ("Body and Soul" and "Mommie Dearest").
If things go well, the first film and its sequel will be filmed in the Denver area beginning in January, Margulies said.
Karol W. Smith, director of the Colorado Film Commission, said making the movies in Colorado could bring $20 million into the state.
Each of the 350 applicants read a three to 15-minute script taken from a scene in the movie.
The group was reduced to 100 actors and they auditioned for Immerman and Annakin, Margulies said.
"Battlefield Earth" unfolds a saga of an embattled Earth in the year 3000 A.D., when a single individual leads a handful of survivors against Earth's conquerors.
Donna Davis, of Collage Talent Management, has been directing the careers of Guy, Murray and Shadwell for two years.
She said all three started as models before opting for acting.
"They all have [?] quality," she said. "And the people who auditioned them saw that."