Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | 2:16 p.m.
CineVegas runs from June 10 to 15. For more information, visit www.cinevegas.com
Seven local high school students who will be premiering at the CineVegas Film Festival this summer in a zombie action movie got some advice from Mr. Las Vegas himself.
But most of the teens had no idea who he was.
“I asked my mom,” said Davion Stewart, whose face was covered in red paint for his part as Devil Boy, the film’s protagonist. “He’s a singer.”
Wayne Newton isn’t just any singer. He’s a Las Vegas icon. A crooner for the last 50 years, he’s also a film star, often caricaturing himself but always charming.
On Tuesday, Newton dropped in at the CineVegas offices in Green Valley, where the students were shooting their film.
Dressed all in black with crocodile skin boots emblazoned with silver Ws, Newton was eager to provide the young actors with some tips.
“I’ve played everything from a son-of-a-bitch to an evangelist to a cowboy to an Indian,” he told the students. “It’s important that no matter what, you bring a part of you to the role.”
Newton turns 67 next week, but he doesn’t seem to be slowing down. He’s shooting a cameo next week for an indie comedy film. He plays the author of a sex book. He’ll switch gears after that to play an evangelist in a Hollywood film. Then he’ll be back in Las Vegas on April 23 for a weeklong stint at the MGM Grand.
For the last five weeks, the teens from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas received lessons in filmmaking from the CineVegas Clubhouse, the festival’s outreach program.
Their 10-minute film, “Where the Girls at,” will debut on the big screen at Brenden Theatres at the Palms in June. The students had a hand in everything from the screen writing to the acting. Their script can best be described as an urban tale of good versus evil.
“It’s about a demon boy who appears and tries to take over the Earth, and he turns people into zombies,” said Miguel Carranza, 15.
Spoiler alert: the demon boy gets sent back to hell.
Director Jonpaul Lewis said he was happy to help the teens make their sci-fi dream into a film. “It’s very out there, but they all pulled together and they showed us how they wanted to be portrayed,” he said.
For these teens, the crux of the movie is that the devil’s son doesn’t get the girl. And the nerd saves the day.
Before he left, Newton offered a little relationship advice. To woo an audience, he said, an actor must say something with his eyes. When it comes to girls, though, it might not be wise to speak everything on your mind, he siad.
“If you do that with a girl,” Newton said, “you’re likely to get hit.”