story by Jamie Smith
Northwest Arkansas area residents have the opportunity to participate in a movie that commemorates a local football hero.
Brandon Burlsworth was known for his character, his faith and for being what many consider to be the greatest walk-on story in the history of college football. Burlsworth was drafted to the Colts but died in a car accident less than two weeks after the draft.
He was an unlikely walk-on to the Arkansas Razorback football team in 1994 and through hard work and determination, became a football legend.
Burlsworth’s story is being told in a feature film, “Greater,” and casting calls for extras and other parts will be held noon to 8 p.m., Friday (March 15), and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday (March 16), at the Northwest Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville.
The casting calls will be at a location inside the mall and signage will provide the exact location.
Matthew Morgan of Morgan Casting said he’s had hundreds of emails from people who want to be involved in the movie, many who knew Burlsworth or his reputation.
“It’s been the most incredible journey,” he said. “It’s an incredible story.”
The screen play is based on a book about Burlsworth’s life, Morgan said.
“It’s one of the best scripts I’ve read, ever,” he said. “It’s a beautiful testament to his life and the legacy he left.”
The movie needs hundreds, if not thousands, of extras.
“We are recreating an entire football season and also doing some high school scenes,” he said. “We need real football players, cheerleaders and fans.”
Kim Pease of the NWA Talent Society, said many people from the Harrison community, where Burlsworth is from, are coming for the auditions. Pease and her company have worked as a local logistics contact for the movie.
Several major names are already attached to the movie, but those won’t be released until the major roles are done. The role of Brandon still needs to be filled.
Information from a Facebook event page announcing the tryouts says that people wanting to be extras need to just show up at the casting call. Those wanting to audition for one of the expanded roles need to email a photo and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants need to title the email with their name, the movie name, and the role number. A list of available roles is on the Facebook event and on the Project Casting site.
Marty Burlsworth, Brandon’s brother, said the family is pleased with the movie and the script so far. He said he’s also thrilled with the local response to the movie and that it will be filmed in Arkansas.
Marty and his family operate The Brandon Burlsworth Foundation, which offers football camps, Burls Kids (a program that invites underprivileged children to Razorback football games) and the Eyes of a Champion program, which provides eye exams and glasses for children who don’t qualify for programs like ARKids, but who otherwise can’t afford the eye care.
“We’re hoping that it does very well and that people get to learn about (Brandon) and what he stood for,” Marty said. “We want to keep that legacy alive.”