By Co-Writer/Co-Producer/Director Terry R. Wickham
When a director casts the lead actor in a movie, the significance is beyond important. It goes without saying, the person needs to fit the role and hopefully have the ability to put the movie on their back. As a director of a low budget film, I’m restricted to not being able to go after established SAG film actors and for that reason I believe in taking chances. Another thing I’m opposed to doing is casting overused actors from other low budget productions, because I don’t want my film to carry their baggage.
In late April 2014, I went to see the power metal band Primal Fear perform live in New York City with one of my Devil’s Five partners and fellow directors George Brianka. After seeing the group tear through a rousing set highlighted by material from their album Delivering The Black, we got to meet with the band backstage. This was the reason we were actually at the show. We needed to get permission from the band to use their song “Delivering The Black” for the end credits of our movie.
After the band agreed to let us use the song, vocalist Ralf Scheepers approached me to let me know he was interested in doing some acting in a movie. This really caught me off guard and truthfully I didn’t know what to think at that exact moment.
When I relayed Ralf’s message to The Devil’s Five investor Thad Byrd, he told me that we had to call him on that. See, Primal Fear is Thad’s favorite band and he immediately saw the value in getting an international known name attached to film.
Flash forward to September 18, 19 and 20th 2015, when I firsthand got the chance to work with Ralf, when he played the lead role in “The Devil’s Five.”
We believed so much in him that we used a good portion of our budget to fly Ralf to New York from his home in Germany. I cannot over emphasize how extremely lucky we got because when you roll the dice on an unproven actor, there’s no guarantee of what you’ll end up getting.
But what we got was a performer totally committed to not only pulling off the character, but doing everything he could to help us make the movie. Ralf is someone that everyone, including my family loved and respected. There were a bunch of people on our production team that commented how good of an actor he was, which I wholeheartedly agreed.
What amazes me the most about Ralf is that for all he’s accomplished, there’s not an ounce of attitude or whiff of arrogance that you sometimes get from lesser known talent. The fact is Ralf was there one hundred percent committed to making the movie the best it could be and was willing to do whatever that took. There was no clock ticking in terms of when he needed to stop working or needed a break. There were even a couple times, he pointed out details in my own script I was missing in the rush of production. That is absolute proof of a person who cared about getting what was written.
At this point, there is no doubt that we hit the casting jackpot with Ralf Scheepers. There’s not a better person in the world, to act as the spokesman for The Devil’s Five than the talented, hardworking, optimistic German gentleman, who simply understands what needs to be done to make dreams come true.
He absolutely helped me realize my vision for The Devil’s Five and for that I will forever be grateful.