Manheim native is now a cowboy star in the movies
MANHEIM, Pa. (AP) — Manheim native Clint Obenchain looks like a cowboy and his burgeoning film career in New Mexico has featured several cowboy roles.
“Casting directors want to put me in westerns as opposed to other actors who look well-fed and healthy, ” he jokes. “I don’t look like that.”
In the new film, “The Kid,” Obenchain plays Tom Pickett, a member of Billy the Kid’s gang. The film stars Ethan Hawke as Sherriff Pat Garrett, Chris Pratt as the fictional and very nasty Uncle Grant and Dane DeHaan as Billy the Kid.
It’s Vincent D’Onofrio’s directorial debut.
“Tom is a childhood friend of Billy’s and he came from a well to do family, but he was the black sheep and screwed up a lot,” Obenchain says, describing his character. “He’d found another family in the gang, but was afraid for his life. He’s not the best outlaw.”
The film revolves around two fictional children trying to escape their horrible uncle who find themselves in the middle of battles between Garrett and Billy the Kid. The Kid of the title is the young boy.
Obenchain has a small role, but was thrilled to rub shoulders with the likes of Hawke and D’Onofrio.
“I was a little nervous to socialize with Ethan, but in between breaks, sitting and relaxing, he seemed very normal. he could be your uncle. He didn’t act like a superstar.”
D’Onofrio was happy to be directing his first film.
“He wanted the days to be quick, but you could ask questions, ad lib if you wanted to (during filming). He was a very emotional director and he expected everyone to express their emotions.”
Obenchain and his wife, Sheila Eden, have lived out west for about five years. They have two kids, Brida, 8, and Athene, 5.
There is a thriving television and movie scene in New Mexico, which interested Eden, an actor, model and musician, but was not really a thing for him.
A 2000 graduate of Hempfield High School, who grew up in Manheim and the edge of East Petersburg, Obenchain had no interest in theater growing up.
“I was quite shy and bookish. I had more adventures in books than I did in real life,” he says.
He spent some years working dead end jobs, got married and then divorced.
“I was going through some life changes — divorce, my dad had passed away, I lost my job. So I began traveling the country by bike,” he says. “When I returned, I met my wife. She had already been out there and was ready to travel. If you want to reinvent yourself, that part of the country has the feeling to do it.”
Although he didn’t go out to become an actor, Obenchain soon found work in the industry.
“It’s a great place to get started. It’s very busy where we are. Netflix has moved a production facility there. There’s more than enough opportunity to go around, as opposed to L.A. or New York, where it can take a long time to get established.
“Here, they need people and if you can do the job, you are hired. That goes for crew work as well. If you need someone to believe in you, they’ll give you a go. That’s a special thing about New Mexico.”
They first moved to Tuscon and were unsure what to do.
″‘Breaking Bad’ had brought (jobs) there and we decided to see if we couldn’t find our niche in the film industry,” Obenchain says. “I did some training and I got my first role in a TV show.”
His resume includes a variety of short films, appearances on television programs such as “The Ridiculous Six” and “Midnight Texas,” and a short of a film he hopes to turn into a full length feature, “Wayward Son,” which is the story of a man’s bike trip across the country, based on Obenchain’s own experiences.
Finding his niche in New Mexico has opened up a whole new life for Obenchain.
″″It’s very encouraging to be part of this growing scene,” he says. “I didn’t have a lot of experience, but it didn’t seem to matter. I’ve surrounded myself with supportive, creative people.
Information from: LNP, http://lancasteronline.com