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Plant Doctor, Page 3
St. James Crofters , 4
9 right) Shawna WaJdron (Becky m The Icebox - O'Shea), Datuiy
88 in the comedy film "Little Giants".
Nine-Year-Old Troy Simmons Discovers Life In Movieland
BY SUSAN USHER
Call it a long, hot, adventurous summer for 9-year
old Troy Simmons, one destined for permanent
engraving in memory as his season with the stars.
Sightseeing trips to landmarks such as the La Brca
Tar Pits, but not Disneyland. Falling on his bike. Flying
on new in-line skates up and down the halls of Oak
wood, the studio corporate apartments where he lives
Making his first foil-length movie.
He's Rasheed "Hot Hands" Hanon in the Warner
Brothers Family Entertainment/ Amblin Entertainment's
production of "Little Giants." You'll see him on the big
screen when the comedy's released sometime this fall.
"He's a little boy who can't catch. I like that, some
times it's fon not to be able to do something. He's kind
of a spaz," said Troy in a long-distance interview grant
ed with reluctance. "There's one scene where instead of
spraying a half can of sticky stuff on his hands he uses it
all. He tries to wipe his hands and they stick to his shirt.
He goes out to catch the ball and the ball hits him in the
head and he falls."
There's a routine of sorts to Troy's life in movie land,
shaped around 14-hour days and early or late calls to the
studio. Accompanied by his mother, Troy takes the stu
dio car to the set for wardrobe, hair, makeup (sunblock
only), breakfast, review of the day's drill?and some
times daily rewrites ? with the dialogue coach, then
work oo scenes.
While his former classmates in Debra Noble's third
grade room might not understand, Troy's quick to ex
plain that the life of a budding child star isn't
Hollywood glitz and glamour. At times it even borders
on the tedious. He may be only a little boy whose polite
"Yes, sir" manners enthrall the adults he meets, but this
Troy has one of the larger kid's roles, which keeps
him on the set when other kids are already in the pool.
In ooe version that's been filmed but may not make it
through rewrite and editing, his slippery-handed charac
ter is the wide receiver who catches the winning pass of
the showdown game.
Riding the new wave of family movie popularity,
"Little Giants" is another root-for-the- underdogs kid
sport team movies. U combines top-notch professionals
like Director Duwayne Dunham ("Homeward Bound:
The Incredible Journey") behind the cameras with most
ly newcomer talent on the screen.
Five NFL greats, including coach and commentator
John Madden and Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt
Smith, make cameo appearances in a wish fulfillment
sequence. Coaches for the two opposing teams arc
played by Rick Moranis (of "Ghostbusters," "Honey, I
Shrunk the Kids," "Parenthood" and SCTV comedy
troupe fame) and Ed O'Neill (A1 Bundy in Fox's
Production began May 10 in the Los Angeles area and
filming is expected to end later this month, possibly in
time for Troy to begin school Aug. 23 with his class
mates at Supply Elementary School.
Several weeks of intensive training and coaching by
football advisor Darryl Smith prepared Troy and the oth
er youngsters in "Littk Giants" to appear in game close
ups. Another SS kids, all child stunt actors, will actually
play the climactic game.
Some scenes have been filmed at the Warner Bros,
sound studio, with location shots inside a house in
Pasadena and at a working cannery. When production
moved to Arroyo Grande in the central California desert
for some outdoor shots, Troy found the picturesque town
both "cool" and "boring." So boring that one day he jok
ingly invited the likeable first assistant director to fire
him so he could come home.
"We had to wait around all day in a hot, stuffy class
room," IVoy recalled "We had to take three or four
weeks of that dust."
Most of the guys entertain themselves oo the set with
Game Boy handheld interactive video games. TYoy bor
rows one ooce in a while, but doesn't own one.
But getting to act makes up for most of the less en
Small Sandpipers Hard To Dishnauish
BY BILL FAVER
thoac little birds right at the water's edge
following the waves ia and oat and
what are they looking for?
That is a question I'm often
asked by beach visitors who be
by these small
their ability to keep one
step above an incoming wave. The
answer is more difficult than you
might expect, for there are several
possibilities along our beaches this
tune of year.
The moat likely candidates are
sanderlings, semi-palmated sandpipers, and knots.
These species can be distinguished in spring by ool
orizatioo and size. In late summer, fall and winter, the
gray colors dominate. Size and few body markings are
the best helps in knowing who they are.
The semi-palmated sandpipers are small ? about 5 to
61/2 inches ? and have a sturdy, dark bill and black
legs. This grayish bird likes to follow the waves in and
out in search of mole crabs and coquinas. They are
moat plentiful from September to May and vacate the
beadles when the crowds come.
Sa relettings are a little larger and can get to be 81/2
indies in size. In spring, the bead of this bird can be
buffy to bright rusty, but later in the year, the character
istic gray is what we observe. In fail, this can be the
whitest of our sandpipers. During flight there is a white
stripe visible in the wing. Sanderlings also feed along
the water's edge.
Knots usually feed in flocks and appear frequently
from December to May. This 9- to 11-inch bird appears
in winter as a nondescript gray with a whitish breast. In
spring, the breast is pale robin red and the back is mot
tled gray and black. The bill is chunky, dark and rather
short "TT?e tump is whitish in spring and fall plumage.
Knots also feed oo the incoming wives, enjoying the
same food as the other sandpipers.
Late summer and fell migration is a good time to
look for the small sandpipers feeding along the water's
edge. They are harder to identify this time of year, but
the rewards are there for those who will take the time
to look for them.
joyable aspects of the job. Troy likes being on stage or
in front of a camera; he's got the acting bug.
That bug is what brought him to the set of "Little
Giants" four months ago, before school let out for the
Troy and his mom flew to California for a screen test
after he made the cut in Wilmington as part of a nation
wide search for new talent for the film.
Back home, they barely had 11/2 days to pack for the
return flight to California for an indefinite stay. "We
were able to pack clothes from home but that was about
all, and mother (Elnora Mitchell) packed a tractor for
each of the boys. That's what they play with when
they're missing home,'* says Mrs. Simmons, who took
leave from her teaching post at Supply Elementary to try
to provide a homelike setting for Troy away from borne,
and monitor him on the set
The law says I can keep him in eye view at all times
and I'm taking advantage of that, but trying to stay out
of the way," she said in an interview over the July 4th
holiday. "The glamour I'm still trying to find, but it's an
interesting process to watch. It's going to be interesting
to see how it all comes out.
"If he never gets to work again, we're trying to savor
this, so we can say we learned something along the
Making the trip also were Troy's brothers Justin, 2,
and Bryan, who's less than a year old, and their regular
care provider, Irene Bryant, "a Godsend who's added
some continuity to our lives," says Mrs. Simmons.
"Little Giants" was the break Troy had been preparing
for since about kindergarten.
First there were acting classes with his mom at the
Academy Foundation in Wilmington, followed by
movement training in jazz, ballet, tap and gymnastics at
Dance Showcase and The Brunswick School of Dance.
Then came the chances to play young Langston
Hughes in the Celebration Theater production of
"Langyton," and a scene in the Public Broadcasting
System special "Simple Justice". Last summer he
trained with The Negro Ensemble Company's Summer
Theater for Children in Houston, Texas, appearing in
their production of "You Can't Touch This." Along the
way, in 1992, he signed with an agency. John Bonitz's
Bontalent in Hampstead.
His latest character, Rasbeed, is one of the "Little
Giants," a band of youngsters rejected for the town's
Pop Warner League junior football team, including the
best player in town, simply because she's a girl, Becky
"The Icebox" O'Shea (Shawna Waidron). She's also the
niece of Coach Danny O'Shea (O'Neill), Heisman
Trophy winner and town celebrity.
Becky talks her dad, Kevin O'Shea (Moranis), who
has always lived in his older brother's shadow, into
fielding a second team and going after the Pop Warner
slot He tosses the gauntlet before his older brother, and
sets out to transform the unlikely "Little Giants" into
Troy says making movies and acting are "cool" and
"lots of fun," but he's acutely aware there's more to life.
For the past several weeks he's been fighting a case of
the homesick blues.
After a break. Troy will be ready for more film work.
For now, asked if there's anything he'd rather be doing
than making a movie, his voice dropped a notch and he
admitted, "Be home."
His best buddies have written Troy, but he hasn't writ
ten them back, or called. He's reluctant to talk to anyone
who calls from home, whether it's his dad or a newspa
per editor and friend. It only makes him more lonely for
home, and this fellow intends to hang on until filming
ends later this month.
"We're really busy. We're moving on along," be
mumbles bravely. "We're doing OK."