The players on Severn School's football team may have finished theirseason in November, but their Hollywood careers are just beginning.
Edgewater filmmaker Arthur Egeli is in Anne Arundel this week shooting a 3 -minute promo for "Prodigy," a film about a Severn School student torn between football and ballet.
Part of that promo, scheduled to be shot between 2 and 5 p.m. today, will star the school's football team.
The script for "Prodigy," which Egeli originally drafted as his senior English project while attending Severn School, is about an adolescent from a long line of ballet dancers who moves into the Annapolis area and enrolls in a snooty prep school.
To be cool, the dancer hangs up his slippers and joins the football team, where his strength and agility catapult him to instant stardom and popularity.
Eventually the boy must decide whether to continue his charade as a football hero or return to his artistic roots.
Baltimore dancer David Miller, who will be standing in as the boy for the promo, said he's looking forward to tearing apart Severn's linebackers in the filming today.
"I mean they're big and all that, but they just don't have the balance," Miller said witha smile.
Besides directing and writing the script, Egeli will co-produce the film. He plans to take the promo and a tin cup to the American Film Market convention in California next month, looking for European and American investors to front the $4 million necessary to begin filming next spring.
"It's amazing how quickly deals are made at the film market," Egeli said. "I think my chances are pretty good to raise enough, especially because of the the distribution agreementwith Studio Three."
Studio Three, an independent film distribution company, has agreed to spend no less than $6 million advertising and promoting "Prodigy," provided Egeli can raise the money to film it.
The arrangement is a boon for a young independent filmmaker like Egeli because it assures investors that the product at least will beavailable to movie-goers in major markets in the United States and Europe.
Many independently produced films never get a chance to find their market, Egeli said.
Roddy McDowell, Kevin Tighe, Meg Foster and J. Trevor Edmond already have been signed to star in the production.
Stand-ins are being used for the promotional video. The first scenes were shot yesterday at Annapolis' Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.
Egeli, who has been shuttling back and forth between Hollywood and Annapolis, plans to shoot the movie almost entirely in Anne Arundel County, at Maryland Hall and on the campuses of St. John's College and Severn School.
The author says his script has been well-received in Hollywood circles, where the prep-school genre has become vogue in the wake of "Dead Poets Society."
"This is my breakthrough movie," said Egeli, who has produced two low-budget, limited-release films since leaving the University of Maryland Baltimore Countyfor Hollywood in 1986.
He said his other films, "Up Front in America" -- a comedy about America's obsession with women's fronts -- and"Maxim Xul," about a Babylonian demon that kills, among others, an Annapolis Capital photographer, were not representative of the kinds of movies he wants to make in the future.
"I want to make people laugh, cry and think about my movies," Egeli said last year, explainingthat most movie makers must prove their merit with low-budget films targeted at adolescent or foreign markets.
If he can't get the backing for "Prodigy," he says he will return reluctantly to the adolescent market.
"I'm holding out. I've already had a couple of offers to make horror movies," Egeli said.