HARKER HEIGHTS — Killeen’s future as a film city is a dream that started to come into focus for Andre and Lucrisa Hillard on Sunday as more than 20 people auditioned for parts in their upcoming film, “1040 Not So Easy,” at the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library.
Their company, Cinemahill Productions, based in Killeen, had a casting call that attracted local first-timers and experienced actors from outside the area.
“The film business is saturated in Austin, but we’ll give Killeen a chance to do a movie here,” said Andre Hillard, screenwriter and producer.
The couple has worked on the film’s concept for more than two years, so it was time to finally start the production process said Lucrisa Hillard, casting director who is just as excited as her husband.
“This is all new for me, and everyone is doing a good job with their auditions today,” she said.
The plot is about a Ponzi scheme that turns out bad, as an Army sergeant and his buddies try to make it rich by outsmarting the government.
The plot is partly based on Andre Hillard’s military experience helping soldiers at an on-post tax center.
One of the first actors to audition was Kendrick Thomas, 18, a drama major at Central Texas College who called the film experience amazing.
“We’re not a big city, but there’s talented people here, and focusing on the arts is great for Killeen,” Thomas said.
Each actor selected one main role and two supporting roles from more than 20 characters, and then took some time to prepare.
Paul Jones of Killeen auditioned for Ben, the leading role.
“It’s nice to see a film being done here instead of driving all the way to Austin or Dallas,” Jones said after the audition.
Austin Baker had a minor role in a Richard Linklater film several years ago and he made the trip from the South By Southwest Festival in Austin.
“It was a great experience auditioning, so I’d love to get a part in this film,” Baker said.
Film director David H. Nguyen liked the script when he read it . He was also pleased with the caliber of talented actors.
“Everyone has their own magic that we’re looking for,” Nguyen said.
At the end of the audition process, everyone was pumped up for what the film will mean to the community.
“I think Killeen has potential in the film business,” Andre Hillard said.