Face of a future film star?


Making movies could be Sean Crawford’s future.

The Alexandra boy was selected for a small role in Stray, the debut feature film written and directed by Dustin Feneley, of Auckland.

The film opens today in cinemas across New Zealand, and features Central Otago locations including Cromwell, Alexandra and Luggate.

Mr Feneley said Sean (8) was very natural and understated, and filming felt “effortless” with him.

“He had a stillness to him, which went well with the character.”

The director was “really nice”, Sean said.

He recalled having to walk towards a house with his on-screen mother Grace, played by Arta Dobroshi.

“We walked down the street towards the house, and was about to walk around the back when I had to turn around and hear her say ‘I love you’.”

It was a little challenging having to pretend someone else was his mother.

“It was kind of confusing, because I already had one mother, and if I had another real mother that would be confusing to remember.”

Another scene took place at a pool in Alexandra, where he had to stand on the side of the pool as his mother called to him.

“After that I got to have a swim though.”

Director Mr Feneley wanted a natural performance, and didn’t get Sean to memorise lines. Instead he gave him guidance on what to do.

“I couldn’t look at the camera, I don’t know why, but I had to look either at the ground where I was walking or at the house.”

“Woah, is that me?” Sean said when he saw himself on screen, “cause I was really small then and really young.”

The scenes “looked really different” when he saw them on film.

One of the favourite moments for Sean was being given a carved eagle that was used in the film.

“I got to keep it, and I have still got it, only a wee bit of the beak is broken, but the rest of it is good as new.”

The worst bit was “when I got the words wrong, and I was quite embarrassed because there were some people around watching.”

Sean had to be reminded by his grandmother about an incident near the end of filming when staying near Otematata.

“Oh, hospital.”

Right at the end of filming Sean had to be rushed to Dunedin Hospital in an ambulance.

“Mum got quite worried. She was quite upset.”

Sean has hydrocephalus, when fluid builds up in the skull and causes the brain to swell.

He has two shunts at the back of his head.

“It’s got two tubes attached, and it drains bad fluid down into my tummy. If bad fluid comes up I get really bad headaches and have to go to the hospital for surgery.

“I’ve had 13 surgeries in my life – I nearly died when I was a baby.”

Shrugging off this challenge, and doing well now, he hoped to be in another movie one day.

The experience had ignited his interest in acting, and he was looking forward to friends and family seeing the movie.

“I would love to be in another movie, because I will be more famous,” Sean said.

Screen moment . . . Arta Dobroshi and Sean Crawford in a scene from Stray. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
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