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D’Evelyn student in upcoming Disney+ movie

Star power: D’Evelyn student has role in upcoming Disney+ movie
Posted on 03/03/2020
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Star power: D’Evelyn student has role in upcoming Disney+ movie

By Deborah Swearingen
Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at 1:58 pm

Making it in Hollywood requires commitment and patience. Collin Blackford knows this better than most. 

The 16-year-old D’Evelyn Jr./Sr. High School junior has a supporting role in the upcoming Disney+ movie, “Stargirl,” that premieres on March 13. Filming a movie while attending a rigorous academic school such as D’Evelyn is no easy task, and Blackford managed to maintain stellar grades while filming for more than a month in New Mexico during his sophomore year.

“It speaks well for him and his efforts as well as our teachers and school that were able to support him with that,” D’Evelyn principal Josh Griffin said.

The movie, based on a 2000 novel by Jerry Spinelli, follows two teenagers as they fall in love and explores ideas of non-conformity and self-expression. For Griffin, it seemed like a natural fit for Collin.

“I think Collin’s a great example of just living that way as a person himself,” Griffin said. “... It sounds like he found the right film to get involved in, or they found him.”

He plays a boy named Benny, who is in the main character’s friend group at school and is known for his love of food. It’s not uncommon to find Benny eating a hot dog or enjoying two trays of food during lunch. In one scene, Collin’s character eats a burrito. That meant Collin had to enjoy many burritos, too, while working to nail the scene.

“I didn’t eat a burrito for like six months after filming,” he said, laughing. “That was an experience in itself.”

Collin began acting when he was 5, first in theater before moving into film. His role in “Stargirl” is certainly the biggest he’s had thus far.

He made a lot of friends on set and was impressed with how well everyone got along. The cast often went out to arcades or escape rooms after long days at work.

Anyone considering a future in acting should be aware of the challenges and come ready to work.

“... You’re not going to get every audition, but you’ve got to keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going,” he said. “Eventually, it’ll pay off.”

Through it all, he’s remained clear-minded and modest. In addition to excelling in his schoolwork, Collin plays basketball and boys volleyball at D’Evelyn.

“This is a bigger break for him, (but) you would never have known. He’s very humble, down-to-earth, friendly, relatable,” Griffin said.

And he’s certainly realistic about the nature of the industry. He hopes to attend a California college, so he can continue pursuing acting while getting a degree.

“I’m aware that acting is not the most reliable career, so I want to get a good education and stay in school,” Collin said. “If I’m going to go to an academically hard school like D’Evelyn, I want to use that.”

An escape

In a world where people are constantly worried about being well-liked or trying to be someone they’re not, acting is a welcome escape.

“You’re with people who are all the same as you and all have the same passion you have,” Collin said. “... You can just go and you can be someone else.

“That’s always been really cool to me. In a world where everyone’s focused on what people think about them, you can just forget all that,” he added.

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042. Follow her on Twitter @djswearingen. 
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