ASU bred actor in Red Dirt Rising

Article Published: May. 6, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
ASU bred actor in Red Dirt Rising

ASU grad Ben Mabry has a key supporting role in Red Dirt Rising.

Photo submitted

One of Boone's own returns to the High Country a week from Saturday, at least on screen.

Appalachian State University graduate and actor Ben Mabry makes his silver screen debut at the premiere of Red Dirt Rising, the first big event to hit the North Wilkesboro Speedway in over a decade.

Shot in 2007, the film highlights the history of racing and the connection between moonshine and how it all began.

"Film is really different from theater. You just go on set ... you're put in the movie and it looks like you're working with all these people ... half of them I never met," he said.

He gives the performance theater department at Appalachian State University a lot of the credit.
"I would say it was incredibly important, the training that we got ... we were taught a specific set of tools to grab hold of. I had to implement those, not for the stage ... but for a camera lens a few inches wide. It's just a different medium all together. Acting for theater and acting for the camera are two different animals and the tools we learned in theater training are definitely useful for film," he said.

His Mountaineer professionalism definitely shone through his work, according to director James Suttles.

"Ben is a hoot. He always showed up. He had the best attitude in the world. It was always lighthearted ... which made the days much easier than they could have been," Suttles said.

That news comes as no surprise to one of his old directors, performance theater professor and local actor Derek Gagnier.

"Ben's very down-to-earth, hardworking ... easy to direct, and he's got that photogenic thing that works really well for film ... I'm really pleased he's succeeding," he said.

Mabry plays the fictional role of Henry Suttles in the film, "the comic relief ... at the same time, he plays a pivotal," Suttles said.

The movie is a love story that highlights the start of racing through legends like Jimmie Lewallen, Bill Blair and Fred Harb.

The premiere hits the North Wilkesboro Speedway May 15, and tickets can be purchased by visiting The all-day event, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., starts with the Buck Baker Driving School and culminates in a concert by Carolina Moonshine singer Matt Dylan.

As for Mabry, you may have seen him in this week's episode of One Tree Hill, and he'll keep auditioning.

"It's all part of the process," he said.

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