You Really Can Get Discovered in a Restaurant
by Liz Atherton
There's something about long-time Austin resident, DAVID BLACKWELL. Back in the early eighties PAUL SHRADER was the first to grab David for his film, Cat People, when he spotted him working as a bartender at the hotel in which he was staying at the time. It happened again when Director RICHARD LINKLATER saw something in the face of 54-year-old Blackwell, who was then a waiter at Les Amis restaurant, and asked him to audition for DAZED AND CONFUSED.
David has been grabbed again, this time for a major role in the DENNIS QUAID film recently shot in Austin, Texas, THE ROOKIE, based on the true story of JIM MORRIS, the big, sweet shy high school science teacher and baseball coach in Big Lake, Texas that got a second chance in the Big Leagues.
David Blackwell has a quality coveted by many. Blackwell has gotten somewhat used to the embarrassment of strangers approaching him with, "Hey, I saw you as the convenience store clerk that sold beer to a minor" and numerous other projects in which he has participated, including independent feature films and music videos.
SNAKE TALES (1998), an award-winning independent comedy film directed by FRANCESCA TALENTI, boasts David Blackwell in a lead role as Dick, a hilarious and quirky window fashion consultant with a penchant for booze. This low-budget, Austin-made film with no big name stars and no special connections won "Best Independent Film Comedy" at an awards ceremony put on by the Chicago Institute of Art at the Gene Siskel Film Center this past June. Time Warner has purchased rights to show the romance/mystery/comedy on cable TV and it can be rented locally at Vulcan Video and Waterloo Video.
And there's something about that voice. It's no wonder that John Lee Hancock, Texas native and Director of THE ROOKIE, glommed onto David Blackwell and gave him his pick of 3 supporting roles in the film. Blackwell chose the role of Cal, a West Texas small town barber who is a big baseball and Frank Sinatra fan.
Blackwell got serious about pursuing acting in the nineties and got training from several good local acting coaches and got himself an agent, CIAO! TALENTS, now run by Liz Atherton out of nearby Georgetown. It took David Blackwell some years to truly catch the "acting bug," and only after appearing in two major films and numerous independent projects. "I don't care for attention," explains Blackwell.
DAVID BLACKWELL has learned to live with the attention. With the great boost to his career in his role in The Rookie, those with vested interests in movie production in the Austin Area hope this is just a sign of more to come and Hollywood discovers that Austin and the State of Texas is not only a great place to make movies, it has a growing pool of great talent, too.
Austin will be watching Blackwell's career with much interest indeed. Now that he is pursuing the big screen after years of the big screen pursuing him it takes little imagination to predict that we'll be seeing a whole lot more of Austin's own.
by Liz Atherton with Michele Déradune