By Mia Freneaux
"I'm still waiting to wake up," says Randall Cunningham about filming a major motion picture with an all A-list cast. His dream-come-true experience began last year when his agent Brenda Netzberger was contacted by the casting director of the movie "The Campaign", which opens in theaters tomorrow. She, in turn, contacted Randall, a junior at Central Private School, to audition for the role of Cam Brady, Jr., Will Ferrell's neglected son. Randall won the role and found himself heading to New Orleans to spend 3 months balancing acting and schoolwork.
Randall, who has been acting since Kindergarten, has been involved in many theatrical productions in the past with Baton Rouge Little
Theatre, Baker Little Theatre, and Playmakers. He is Central Private's mascot the "Rebel Man." In his spare time he writes scripts in various genres. "They are completely different," he says in reference to stage versus screen, "In theater, you have to be big. Film can pick up everything. In film the acting is more personal, it's a visual art. Theater is a performing art. I love Theater, it will always be part of my past and formed who I am, but I am obsessed with the Film Industry."
Central Private was very supportive of Randall, allowing him to stay up to date with his schooling through email and mail. Mom Leslie would pick up necessary materials from the school and meet Dad James half way to New Orleans to transfer assignments. "I took my midterm exams in the production office," Randall notes with amusement. The big challenge was adjusting between life as a movie actor, where he got star treatment, and jumping back into student life, where he was just an ordinary teen. James shared, "It was a hard transition: boom! movie star, boom! student. But he stayed grounded." Randall is very appreciative of his parents' support. One of them had to stay with him the entire time he was in New Orleans, which entailed massive rescheduling of their lives. Leslie shared, "You can't plan ahead when you get involved in this business. When you get the call, you drop everything and make it work." Using vacation time and calling on co-workers to swap schedules allowed James to act as chaperone.
Randall was thrilled to get to work with stars Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Dan Ackroyd and John Lithgow. "It's insane! That I got to work with all of them is even more of a treat," he says. Though it was hard to decide, he shares that his favorite actor to work with was Will. "I never dreamed I'd meet a legend like Dan Ackroyd. I mean, he's a Blues Brother! But I learned so much from watching Will's improv skills and how he treats others. He showed me no matter how big you get, you can still be a human being." He called his Hollywood premier experience "fantastic! Getting that star treatment was, well, a real treat! Walking on the red carpet with paparazzi calling your name to get you to look at them for photographs, people in the crowd blocked off across the street calling your name, it was fun but also somewhat scary. I mean, how do they even know you?"
His future plans are to go to film school after graduation to study directing and screen writing. "I'd rather be behind the camera than in front. I have a love for filming and telling stories. I want to get my vision out there for everyone to see."