Monday, January 4, 2010

A star is rising

Remember this name: Brannon Westfall.

Though, longtime residents of Bradenton may already know Brannon from his youth. The 23-year-old son of Lawrence and Valerie Westfall attended Manatee High School and State College of Florida when it was known simply as MCC. He was also a familiar face on the Manatee Players' stage. Though he never had any speaking lines.

"I was the cute kid that would come on stage and the audience would say 'awww,'" he said when we chatted by phone during his holiday break here in Bradenton.

These days, Brannon has been making a name for himself in Hollywood as a background actor on TV and film. Sure, background actors really don't have a lot of speaking lines per se nor do they get much face time on the screen, but Brannon has been defying those odds in the eight months he's been out West.

Brannon moved to Hollywood last year in hopes of pursing his dream of working behind the camera after he lost his job at the Blockbuster on Cortez. With the job market dried up last summer, his friend Justin Safari encouraged him to move to California to find a job as a production assistant. Safaei said Brannon could stay with him until he could get on his feet. Though the would-be actor landed a few production jobs, in this business it's all about who you know. And Brannon didn't know a lot of people. Those he did know would often tell him he had a face suited for the camera. So he took a chance and signed up with Central Casting in L.A.

So far, he's landed on shows that include "CSI Miami," "Criminal Minds" and MTV's "Parental Control" - he even had a long speaking part in that one. Remember the cafeteria scene between Claire Bennet and her new friend in college? Brannon walked right by the pair in the scene, he said.

He's even landed on the silver screen. You can catch him in the new "Alvin and the Chipmunks" film in the scene where the Chipmunks compete in a singing competition against the Chipettes. He's in the crowd wearing a bright green polo shirt.

Other films to watch out for with Brannon: "Priest," slated for August, which stars Paul Bettany. According to IMBD, the film is about a priest who disobeys the church to track down the vampires that has kidnapped his niece.
Brannon also has an appearance in the upcoming May release of "Iron Man 2," starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Scarlett Johansson. In the film, Brannon is a "French Street Hipster" hanging out at the race track.

Brannon said he couldn't have gotten this far without the help of his friend and his parents. And now that he's eligible to become a member of the Screen Actors Guild, his goal for 2010 is to find an agent so he can land bigger roles and a nicer paycheck.

We wish Brannon good luck. Or rather, in theater speak, break a leg!

-January Holmes

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice article, but why so many typos and grammatical errors?