Nov. 26--TURLOCK -- They waited in line by the hundreds. Some brought chairs. Some brought blankets. Others sipped hot cocoa.
But they weren't waiting for Black Friday sales or the hottest new video game. Those who stood in line at the Pet Extreme store on Monday night were there for something far more elusive.
It was a chance to say hello to a celebrity and get a shot at being immortalized on film. Several hundred people turned out for the first day of open auditions for former "L.A. Law" and current "Psych" star Corbin Bernsen's new film. The as-yet-untitled romantic comedy is being made though his company Home Theater Films.
Bernsen was at the casting call and greeted the gathered crowd that snaked through the Pet Extreme and Home Depot parking lots. "This is overwhelming," he said. "I feel like Simon Cowell. I didn't know there'd be so many people. I wish I'd written in a football stadium scene."
Auditions will continue from 6 to 9 p.m. today at Pet Extreme. They are open to anyone over the age of 18. Some 200 roles, mostly extras and walk-on spots, are available. None are paid.
The earliest arrived at noon, like first-in-line Escalon resident Robert Fourre. The 25-year-old has acted in local theater and film productions but said Bernsen's project is the biggest he's tried out for by far. "I just love acting, and this is a great thing. I got here (so early) because I was worried there'd be 1,000 people and I'd be at the end of the line. I was expecting Black Friday. And it kind of had turned into that big, actually," he said, surveying a line more than 400 deep.
While some people had acting experience, others were newcomers just excited at the prospect of being involved in Bernsen's project. His independent production company has released four films since 2010, all with a family- and faith-based focus. Bernsen wrote and will direct the Turlock project.
For acting novices like Denise Hoverman, the auditions were a chance to make her birthday memorable. "Tomorrow is my birthday," said the Turlock resident. "So why not audition for a movie on the last day I'll be 41?"
Bernsen said Turlock will double for an arty neighborhood in a big city. His film, about a young woman looking for love through online dating, will shoot in about a dozen Turlock locations.
During the casting call, people went in to meet Bernsen in small groups. He pointed and made notes about each, labeling what scenes they might work best in, from "pet store" to "gospel church."
Those waiting for their shot seemed hopeful and just happy to be part of a larger experience. Turlock resident Marcie Solomon, 53, came with a friend two hours before auditions started. "What other exciting things are happening in Turlock?" she joked.
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