Three Michigan Actors Earn Their First Feature Film Role in CDI's 'MBF'
Donovan Rogers, 15, (Detroit), Maris Fett, 17, (Owosso) and David Dyer, 'a little bit older,' (Grand Rapids), have earned supporting roles in Collective Development Incorporated's next feature film, the intense family drama/character study (both human and canine), 'MBF' ('Man's Best Friend').
"Wherever we go to film, we need background players (Extras) and featured extras," explained DJ Perry, CDI CEO, who also produces and stars in 'MBF' as Afghanistan War-wounded Marine Corps veteran, Paul Landings. "We often discover talent in local communities that we shoot in. We seek out those individuals possessing unique qualities to bring to the story. These roles are not some mere afterthought. They're immensely important to the production. Conversely, knowing how important a role can be to talent, we purposely seek out people who are on a kindred 'quest' to pursue performance as their life calling," he added.
Explained CDI producer Anthony Hornus, who will direct 'MBF,' "On locations I normally handle extra, featured extra and Day Player recruiting. This film's different because we're shooting in my hometown. I'd seen Maris (and her sister, Ava) in plays with The Owosso Community Players (where Mr. Hornus got his start) and I knew about Donovan's talent after working with his father, Emerson, on two film projects in Detroit. I believe DJ met David at a CHOP & HUE event. Remembering faces and names is important in this business.
"My job as director is to elevate every page of the script and help elevate every performance. And that means every single person who is going to be seen or heard in this film. So, getting the casting right is vital."
Donovan, who has family and extended family ties to some of Motown's iconic recording artists (including Smokey Robinson and the Miracles), has developed an impressive resume for such a tender age. And not surprisingly, much of his energy is centered around musical/dance theater. His ongoing association and study with the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit has afforded him to perform at venues ranging from commercials on major Detroit TV stations and singing the National Anthem at a Detroit Lions game to sharing the stage backing Josh Groban in concert.
An Honor Student who is a vocalist (tenor), Donovan is also an alto sax player and hip-hop and jazz dance specialist. He studied in numerous acting workshops and his talents have earned him stints in many regional stage productions (he once played Smokey Robinson in 'Only the Best'), as well as a position in the Off- Broadway show, 'Let It Shine,' at the Public Theater.
"He's a multi-talented young man, respectful and focused," enthused Mr. Hornus of Donovan. "I knew I wanted to cast him, but was unsure if we could get him to a place that was polar opposite of who he is. Donovan went through an extensive auditioning process. He earned by doing."
"It's a blessing and I appreciate the opportunity from Tony," said Donovan. "I'm looking forward to spreading my acting wings. My character, 'Josh,' is a 'bad-boy,' who makes a lot of bad decisions following 'Charlie' (David Michael Reardon). But that's the art of character development, going to a place that's not who you are."
Maris, a senior at Owosso High School and a veteran of the school's Drama Dept. and community theater, has followed a similar path to Donovan. And she'll perform, coincidentally, as his girlfriend, another troubled teen.
Outside of school, Maris has studied ballet, jazz and tap dance, as well as vocals. She has played both lead and ensemble roles in OHS productions such as 'Beauty and the Beast,' 'Oklahoma,' and 'Les Miserables.' On the Lebowsky stage, she's earned spots from featured soloist to roles in 'Bye, Bye Birdie,' 'Willie Wonka' (earning a Best Supporting Actress nomination) and others. Her performance in 'The Other Room' earned her a 'Superior Acting Award in a Leading Role' by the Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association.
"I'm thrilled to be a part of this project," said Maris. "It's my first film role of any kind, I'm excited and thankful to CDI for this opportunity."
While 'MBF' is David's first feature film role, his experience on stage and radio as a comic, is second to none. For 24 years he's worked from coast-to-coast, large venues and small, with the likes of Drew Carey, Lewis Black, Louie Anderson and Bobcat Goldthwaite, among many other notables.
David, who writes his stand-up material, is regularly featured on Grand Rapids morning radio shows with his 'Dave's World' feature and he is often featured on the nationally syndicated 'The Bob and Tom Show.'
He's also been a contributing writer for NBC's 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon' and ABC's 'Politically Incorrect.'
"I'm thrilled to be apart of 'MBF,' said Mr. Dyer. "When I read the script (by DJ Perry) for the audition, the story really had an impact on me because the pets we've had in our family have been immensely important in my life. Being given the opportunity to help tell the story of how they impact the lives of our veterans every day is something I'm honored to do."
'MBF' is scheduled to film in early spring in Michigan and Bridgestone Multimedia Group (BMG) is slated to distribute.
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