“Red Wing” Experience, A New Found Love

Austin Harrod, a fifth grader from Denison, is now 10 years old, but last summer, he played young Francis in “Red Wing,” the full length film which was shot in Whitewright.

He has never acted in any way; although he might come by it naturally as his father, David, has done some.

“It’s been good; it’s a lot of fun,” said Austin of his experience on the set. “I like acting.”

Of the “Red Wing” story and script, David said: “I’ve read thousands of scripts; this is the best script I’ve ever read; just beautiful!”

David was in the film, “Thin Red Line” in 1998, and also has a small part in “Red Wing.” He is happy his son has discovered acting.

“He likes it; he’s a natural,” explained David. “I know the director (Will Wallace) and we got Austin an audition for a smaller role, but Will asked me later if I thought Austin could do the lead. Of course, I said, ‘Yes!'”

Austin was happy with the turn of events. He said he ‘prayed’ that he would get the lead.

“It was great; it worked out,” he smiled.

Austin took time out on a Saturday last August when he didn’t have any scenes to film to talk about his first venture into acting. He also discussed his 10 day experience last week.

About acting in general, Austin said: “I like getting to be someone else; I enjoy being in someone else’s shoes.”

“Working with those other actors makes you want to work harder,” he added. “It was fun, but I wanted to push harder to do a good job.”

His most emotional scene is one at a bus station when he (as Francis) thinks that someone is going to take him and give him to someone else (besides Maddie, the main character). In the story, there are forces out of Francis’ control affecting him and the ones he loves.

“It was hard; hard; hard!” he said.

According to Austin, the ‘hardest’ part about acting is how long it ‘takes’ to get to the actual ‘take’ where you (as the actor) are there.

“It’s not acting until you are ‘there’,” he concluded in a moment of wisdom.

The ‘easiest’ or most fun part was working with veteran actor Frances Fisher, who was a grandmother figure of sorts to Austin in the film’s story.

“She was so nice to me in the script, but then I learned that she was manipulating my character,” explained Austin in very ‘grown up’ terms. “I had fun with it; she was great.”

Another ‘neat’ experience was meeting actor Bill Paxton, who portrays a local sheriff in the storyline.

“When I heard he was going to be in it, I wanted to meet him,” said Austin. “I finally got to; we talked and it was fun.”

Without having to ask, his father is proud of his son’s overall work as a young actor.

“He’s a little actor!” said David. “He takes instruction well and works hard. I didn’t tell him anything about acting. We just let him handle it.”

One funny incident during filming (which wasn’t in the script) was when Austin fell in a pond during a live shoot. Regardless, he is proud of being part of the “Red Wing” family.

“It’s not scary and the food was good,” he smiled. “I worked for about 10 days and got to work with some of the best actors around. It was awesome.”

“I was so excited even when my hardest scene was done; it felt good to act,” said Austin. “I’ll remember this for the rest of my life.”

Producer Patti Carpenter said Austin’s eyes matched the adult Francis actor’s (Glen Powell) eyes. She said it was one of the many ‘little miracles’ that happened at the Whitewright shoot.

Austin wants to do more acting and has even kidded his parents about moving to LA.

In addition to acting, he is learning Chinese and plays Little League baseball.

“I want to do it (acting) again,” said Austin. “I’ve wanted to be an actor since I was six years old; ‘Red Wing’ is such a good memory for me.”

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