LAPORTE – The Oscars are three weeks away, and a LaPorte man knows what it's like to grace the red carpet.
Director John Hancock was nominated for an Academy Award back in 1970. He's directed several films since then including the Christmas movie "Prancer," and now he's working on another project that will involve the entire community of LaPorte.
More than 300 people from as far away as Ohio have come to the LaPorte County Public Library, not to check out books, but for a shot at fame.
"We just thought it would be a cool thing to say we auditioned for a movie this weekend in LaPorte. How often do you get to say that?" said Katie Eaton, who's auditioning for a role. "This is something I've never done before, so yeah, I'm a little nervous," she said.
Eaton is trying out for a role in Hancock's up and coming film about a woman struggling to care for her granddaughter. There is still no title for the movie.
"The girl is just not receptive. You can't get her off her iPad. She steals and lies until the grandmother discovers she has an extraordinary voice," Hancock said.
Hancock spent his summers in LaPorte County as a child and has lived here since the early 1990s. "It seems like such an ideal place to make a movie. The countryside is so beautiful and there's all this local talent," he said.
So. for his current project, Hancock is looking no farther than his own backyard for talent, location and all kinds of help.
"So many people want to be a part of it," he said.
Hancock's other films, including parts of "Prancer," were also filmed in LaPorte County. Resident Marianne Schaffer says her dad's antique truck was used in a scene from one of those films. "After the movie came out, they released it locally, and I took my dad to the theatre so he could see his truck on the big screen. That really was his pride and joy. Coming here to audition today was more about me getting the chance to say thank you for making those other movies so I could have my memory with my dad," Schaffer said.
With his latest film, Hancock will be making even more memories for those living in this area.
Saturday was the last day for auditions, Sunday is callbacks. To learn how you can get involved, visit www.filmacres.com and click on "Lend a Hand."