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LeModeln Agency Supplies Talent for Films, TV
BOARDMAN, Ohio – The Avengers. The Dark Knight Rises. Fun Size. All three of three of these films appeared on screens nationwide. All three also were cast at least partially through a talent agency that this year marks its 25th anniversary in business.
The walls of Linda Weaver’s office at LeModeln Inc. are lined with photos of clients and actors she has worked with over the past quarter century, a mix of widely recognized television and film actors and local actors and models who have appeared in local, regional and national productions and advertising campaigns. They include familiar names from TV shows past such as Bruce Weitz (Hill Street Blues), John Astin (The Addams Family) and Lyle Waggoner (The Carol Burnett Show) and more contemporary names such as Alana Curry (The Bold and the Beautiful) and reality TV star Omarosa Manigault. She has also placed actors on The Sopranos and Law & Order.
“It was definitely an experience,” said Ashley Uberti of Sharpsville, Pa., who signed with Le Modeln last year and appeared in Fun Size as a trick-or-treater. Watching as a day was spent putting the 30-second scene together, she “gained an appreciation for movies even more,” she said.
Another Le Modeln client, Charles Creager of Canfield, has been with the agency for 11 years. At age 80, his resume includes an Akron bus services ad this year, projects with Will Smith, Helen Mirren and Robert Redford, and a History Channel reenactment of the Quecreek mine disaster in southwestern Pennsylvania. That was an interesting job,” he recalled. He said his association with Le Modeln has been a “very personally rewarding experience.”
Prior to founding Le Modeln, Weaver was a model with a talent agency in Canton. “I paid them about $3,000 and I never got any auditions and never got an opportunity to do a job with them,” she recalled. She couldn’t figure out “why all these beautiful, gorgeous people” coming into the modeling school and agency weren’t getting work. When she subsequently found out no one was being submitted for work, she decided to launch her own agency.
“Thirteen agencies have come and gone since I’ve been here in Youngstown, Ohio,” she said. Le Modeln is the only agency within a 50-mile radius of Youngstown and is one of only two Writers Guild of America agents in the entire state. In addition to actors and writers, she represents models, crew and voice-over talent.
A director, producer or someone else involved with production will send her the project’s criteria, including characters and age breakdowns of who they want. Weaver will provide headshots and resumes to the client, who will then choose “who they want us to videotape doing the actual audition, so that way we’re not wasting the client’s time nor are we wasting the talent’s time,” she said. Prospective clients can also search Le Modeln’s talent database on its website.
“When Warner Bros. needed somebody for White Oleander … they came to this agency to look for [Michelle Pfeiffer’s] daughter,” Weaver said.
“When you think about it, we’re actually only an hour from Cleveland and an hour from Pittsburgh, two and a half hours to Toledo, three hours to Detroit … Four hours to Philadelphia,” she said. Taking into account all of the television, film, commercial and promotional projects in need of people in the greater region, she said there are more jobs in this area than in all of Los Angeles and New York combined “and it is very inexpensive to shoot here,” she said.
One of the other films she provided actors for was Won’t Back Down, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis and Holly Hunter. “I gave 900 people a job in three days on that film,” she said. “I don’t know too many businesses that are doing that nowadays, do you?” Extras on firms can make $100 per day.
Recent films shot in Pittsburgh that Weaver helped cast include this year’s The Dark Knight Rises, the concluding chapter in director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, featuring Emma Watson of the Harry Potter franchise.
Weaver worked with state legislators to put in place a state film tax credit that helped lure production of Marvel Studios’ The Avengers to Cleveland last year, which she cast for. Marvel announced earlier this year that it will shoot part of the sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger in Ohio. Other films shot in Cleveland that she provided talent for include 2007’s Spider-Man 3 and this year’s Fun Size, which starred Nickelodeon star Victoria Justice.
Copyright 2012 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.