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Young actor lands small role on big screen

The former Brooksville resident stood out among extras in Summer Catch, a baseball movie scheduled for release next spring.


© St. Petersburg Times, published June 21, 2000

BROOKSVILLE -- Since he was very young, Ginny Wright says, her son has drawn people's attention.

"When Kevin was a baby, people always stopped me to look at him," the Brooksville resident said. "One man stopped me on the Atlantic City boardwalk to find out if Kevin did modeling."

Recently, Kevin Laielli had his shot to catch attention as an extra in the baseball movie Summer Catch, which is expected to be released in spring 2001. The movie, being made by Warner Bros., focuses on college baseball players who travel to Cape Cod to participate in a summer baseball league that is heavily scouted by the major league teams.

When Laielli arrived on the set in Wilmington, N.C., he and some friends painted their chests with the name of a fictional baseball team -- the Chatham A's.

"We didn't just want to be regular extras," the 20-year-old Hernando High School graduate said. "So we did something they would notice."

An assistant director liked the enthusiasm and made a point to feature the boys as "baseball junkies" in a several shots, Laielli said.

"From then on, we were different from everybody else," he said.

The Hollywood perks included the $125 he earned each day of the monthlong shoot.

"The pay is pretty good," he said. "And they have catering every day, which is really good."

Laielli also rubbed elbows with the movie's star, Freddie Prinze Jr.,and Matthew Lillard of Scream fame.

"It was a lot of fun," he said. "They were pretty nice."

Wright said she has encouraged her son's acting career since his early teens, when he decided to take acting lessons to the tune of about $1,500.

"He was very serious-minded about it," she said. "He studied books on his own."

In high school, Laielli started acting in productions at Brooksville Assembly of God, where his family attends church.

"Acting is what I've always wanted to do," he said. "It's always been my passion. I can't stop doing it."

"He always had that personality," Wright said. "He's always been very social and quick-witted."

Though he worked hard, the talent was natural, Wright said. She remembers her son practicing dialects with telephone solicitors and representatives.

"It was a challenge for him to see if he could pull off a different accent or dialect," she said.

Laielli now lives in Wilmington, a small hotbed of Hollywood hype. To the town's credit are films such as Cape Fear and Scream. When he returns home in a few weeks, Laielli has several auditions lined up, including one for the teen drama Dawson's Creek.

"I would love to do that show," he said. "That would be a real break."

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