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Henry family goes Hollywood

 

By Alex Welch
Assistant Editor 

  Atlanta is quickly earning a reputation as the Hollywood of the South, playing host to a wide range of movies and television shows filming in the area. With opportunities popping up for locals to star as extras in these productions, one Henry County family is making its mark on the industry.

(From left to right) Brian Burns, Lars Thompson, Locklyn Black and Liam Burns all have movie or television experience after being cast for different roles over the last year.

Photo by Alex Welch

  Kelli and Brian Burns, who live in McDonough, have a potential star in the making. Their 7-year-old son, Liam, will hit the big screen next year in an upcoming movie titled “The Homesman.” Tommy Lee Jones, the director of the film, personally selected Liam for an expanded role.

  “He was actually cast as an extra. They did a director’s pick. The director [Jones] chose 20 kids out of hundreds that were submitted, and then out of those 20, he chose six. Liam was chosen as one of the siblings,” said Kelli.

  Kelli said Liam was originally supposed to just wave goodbye to a wagon driving away in one scene. She then heard Jones ask about her son, referring to him as “the little one in the back.”

  “I immediately thought he got in trouble. He calls Liam up and he asks, ‘Can you run?’ And he was going to have him just run after the wagon. Well, then he said, ‘Can you speak?’ Liam said, ‘Of course I can,’ and he [Jones] gave him a speaking role,” said Kelli. “He hung out with Tommy Lee Jones the rest of the day on set.”

  Liam said only a few people at his school, Woodland Elementary School, believe him about the movie, but he’ll have proof to show he spent the day with Jones once “The Homesman” premieres.

  “I thought it was cool. He was nice,” said Liam. When asked what comes next, he said, “The next step is me being famous, getting a house of my own and getting $10,000.”

Liam Burns spends time on the set of “The Homesman” with director Tommy Lee Jones (right) and Grace Gummer, the daughter of Meryl Streep. The film is expected to be released in the spring of 2014.      Special photo

  “The Homesman” is expected to be released in the spring of 2014.

  Few children, let alone adults, have the opportunity to be involved in a movie and to see what really goes on behind the scenes. Brian said he was glad Liam had the chance to be there.

  “I think he had a good time doing it, plus he sees what goes on and how movies are made. It’s also something a lot of people don’t see.”

  Now a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild, Liam has his own agent. Kelli said they plan to start him in acting classes soon. She said he’ll have to take classes to find more roles, because his “age and look are so competitive.”

  But Brian was actually the one who set the acting wheels in motion. He and Kelli initially took Liam to a casting call for the television show “Rectify,” but Brian was the one selected as an extra. After that experience, his father-in-law started going to casting calls.

  Lars Thompson, who has lived in Stockbridge for decades with his wife, Terri, started his acting career last year in “Devil’s Knot.” He has now appeared in 10 movies and television shows combined, including notable upcoming works like “Last Vegas,” “Anchorman 2” and “Resurrection,” which is filming in McDonough. He was given a featured extra role in “Resurrection.” Lars said he plays a character named Judge Daley.

  “It started with Brian, because he was an extra for a show in Fayetteville,” said Lars. “It was kind of interesting to see how the actors interfaced with all the folks and how they did the background scenes. Then I started applying for some of the others, and that’s when I started getting picked up.”

 After receiving multiple extra roles, Lars said he’s met stars like Kevin Kline and Wes Craven. He even invited one celebrity to a family holiday.

  “In Last Vegas, Michael Douglas was giving a eulogy for one of his friends. During the breaks, he’d be able to sit down, and he sat right next to me. I said, ‘If you’re not doing anything for Thanksgiving, you’re more than welcome to join us,’” said Lars, noting that Douglas already had plans to visit Bermuda.

  He said he usually likes a casting company’s Facebook page to receive updates whenever they hold casting calls. Soon, Lars will be adding “Vampire Diaries” and “The Red Road” to his resume.

  The Thompson’s other daughter, Lindy Satterfield, also saw her daughter, Locklyn, on television. Satterfield said she saw a story about casting on FOX 5, and she applied to have her baby appear in the film.

  Locklyn, who is now 10 months old, portrayed Dannie-lynn Birkhead, Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter, in a birthing scene in the television movie “Anna Nicole.” The movie first appeared on Lifetime in June. Satterfield said he couldn’t believe it when she first saw Locklyn on the screen.

  “I freaked out when I first saw her. I didn’t think it was her,” said Satterfield.

  It’s difficult for infants to be selected for movie roles, unless they are part of twins or triplets, according to Satterfield. For that reason, she said she doesn’t plan on looking for other casting opportunities for Locklyn right now. Lars and Liam appear to be set on finding new roles going forward, though.

 

 

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