A Shot of 'Adrenaline'
In April, tens of oily muscle cars will growl down the
Charlotte Motor Speedway for the final shooting of “Adrenaline.”
The Living Water Films production weaves the potholes of life into the dragway, starring former Boone resident Michael Rosander and John Schneider (“The Dukes of Hazzard”). “Adrenaline” is set to premier in August.
Right now, about 60 percent of filming has been completed, with production having started in November 2012.
Rosander plays the film’s protagonist, Joseph Jenkins. Without leaking the conflict, the movie involves an orphan, rowdy North Carolina illegal street racing, a debilitating catastrophe, an enduring friendship and inner strength.
The antagonist of the film is “life,” Rosander said, “and the question of ‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’ and struggles we all deal with.”
Miami native Rosander is now based in Wilmington, but from age 11 through graduation, he and his parents lived in Boone. He attended Valle Crucis Elementary and Watauga High School, graduating in 2000.
“Trimella Chaney was our high school drama teacher,” he said. “She was instrumental in shaping our decisions to be actors.”
The “our” he referenced is himself and a high school best friend, Myke Holmes, who will play Trace Mallery, the best friend of Rosander’s character.
The two worked as cowboys and rainmakers at Tweetsie Railroad in Boone, stood as best men in each other’s weddings and both performed in “The Servant of Two Masters” and “Boys’ Life,” while studying acting at UNC Wilmington.
The two met in eighth grade on the basketball team of Valle Crucis Elementary and Blowing Rock Elementary combined.
During his senior year of high school, Holmes decided to release his aspirations to become an Air Force pilot, though he had a full ride to college, in order to study acting.
He’ll be featured in the upcoming National Geographic film, “Killing Lincoln,” and has appeared in episodes of “One Tree Hill” and “Revolution.”
“In the film industry, you usually don’t know anybody,” Holmes said. “But (Rosander and I) have been great friends for so long, so it’s cool, and because we play best friends in the movie, there’s less acting to do.”
“Adrenaline” is Holmes’ and Rosander’s first experience in feature-length film reading roles.
“I always wanted to be an actor, because I grew up going to the movies with my friends and family, and those movies took you away from ordinary life,” Rosander said. “They definitely could change your perspective ... bring light or make people happy or laugh. I wanted to be a part of that.”
Since graduation, Rosander has performed in music videos, TV shows (including HBO’s “Eastbound & Down”), independent short films and, most recently, Walmart commercials.
He started No Sleeves Magic, where he locally and nationally acts as comedian, magician and illusionist for a following of 200 children. The shows and summer camps have earned him Wilmington’s title of Best Entertainer for seven years and Best Summer Camp for two years.
“Adrenaline” is directed by Alex Chatfield and Joseph Quinn Simpkins.
It is Living Water Films’ first feature-length production. The company hired Rosander for a few acting jobs prior to the movie, one of which was a short, called “The Choice,” for which Rosander won Best Actor during the Gideon Film Festival. When the “Adrenaline” was green-lighted, Living Water Films selected Rosander immediately and without an audition.
Schneider plays Paul Sharpe, a fatherly mentor. Other cast members include Anthony Reynolds (“The Hunger Games,” TV’s “Army Wives”) and Shane Callahan (TV’s “The Vampire Diaries,” “Savage”).
Out of the 33 roles, “4,000 to 5,000 people auditioned, from L.A. to New York to Alabama,” Rosander said.
Intensive physical training and long visits to dragways, garages and hospitals conditioned Rosander to mimic identically the persona of his character.
“We want to bring awareness to that fact that you shouldn’t be driving crazy on the streets, because it’s a risk to your life and others,” he said. “I always want to honor those who have suffered a loss.”
Rosander’s set memories include driving a ‘67 Dodge Dart and a ‘67 Plymouth Barracuda, driving over 120 mph, wheelchair races with crew members, magic tricks with Schneider and finding an acting “family.”
“‘What are we living for?’ my character is constantly being asked,” Rosander said.
To find the answer, he said, “You have to come see the film.”
For more information, visit Adrenaline’s page on http://www.imbd.com.