Local High School Student An Extra In "The Great Debaters" - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Local High School Student An Extra In "The Great Debaters"

Monday we told you about a movie called "The Great Debaters" being filmed right here in East Texas with Denzel Washington directing and starring.  Tuesday, we caught up with a Spring Hill High School student, who's been cast as a re-occurring extra in the movie, but hopes one day he'll be more. 

"This is my home, I do everything on this stage," says Chris Smith.

He calls the Spring Hill High School Theatre his home...for now. But he's hoping one day the silver screen will be his true home. 

"I've wanted to be an actor my whole life, I mean it's just the thing that I've wanted to do, when I see people on screen, it's just inspires me even more, especially Denzel."

And he's hoping Denzel can get him there, just by having "reoccurring extra" part in "The Great Debaters" as his first film on his resume.

"I wouldn't even dream of being in a movie with Denzel, as long as I'm on the set with Denzel, I don't even care to act, I just want to watch him, study him," he says.

Chris is playing a freshman at Wiley College. He says he'll be in about six different scenes, including one at a train station. 

"I basically just wave goodbye to the debaters as they're leaving, walk in front of Forrest [Whitaker] while they're talking. It's going to be like 'Where's Waldo?' You're going to find me, I'm just going to appear.'

The 17-year-old even had a chance to talk with Denzel Washington. 

"After the first day of the shoot, I just walked up to him and I said 'hi I'm Chris smith, I'm from Longview and you're my inspiration.' We talked about a brownie that was a prop and we laughed about that," Chris says.

Chris says being on the set for 16 hours at a time for three days was draining, but he says it was the experience of a lifetime.

"Nothing can top it, hopefully it will, something will later on, but as of now, nothing's going to top it, Chris smiles.

He says after high school graduation, he plans to move to Los Angeles and attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com

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