Local boy makes feature film debut
with most 15-year-old boys, Wynn Tingley likes movies.
The difference is that for the past several years he’s
as likely to be in the movie itself as he is inside a movie
theater, and next month his first feature film will premier
at the Seattle International Film Festival.
“I like being able to become someone completely different,” Tingley said recently. His surprising skill in doing this has gotten him supporting roles in two feature films, Max Rules shot in 2002 and Raftman’s Razor, filmed last summer.
Wynn’s mom, Joni Tingley, said his ability to act comes from somewhere deep inside himself, which makes what Tingley does a craft, and not just an ability to be clever in skits.
“It’s a tough business, especially for a kid,” she said, sounding like pretty much anyone in the movie business until she begins to tell you why it can be difficult work.
“They shot Max over a few weeks in the summer of 2002,” she said, “and once we waited until 2 a.m. for a one-minute part after showing up for a casting call at 5 p.m. the previous day.”
“It’s not what people think,” Wynn chimed in, “because you don’t just go and live out an episode as a character. It’s all done out of sequence. In fact, the first scene I shot was the last one in the movie, where I was supposed to be so grateful for all I’d done in the story.”
The bright, young star said that the movie is about “three kids who save the world, although since it was made it’s been changed a little, so I’ll have to see it myself to see what the producer, writer and director Rob Burke has done with it.”
Tingley said there were scary moments as well as some funny ones. “There’s one car scene where one of us is supposed to be driving and loses control. We went sliding around in a parking lot, hit a garbage can and just missed hitting a light pole. A stunt man drove but my character had to be in the car, and that was scary.”
On the other hand, one scene that required him to drink some milk kept having to be re-shot, he said, because “by the time we got around to getting it right, the milk had gone kind of sour and I kept making a face when I drank it.”
His skill at performing first became apparent when he won a Seattle talent contest at the age of seven. That led to acting lessons at Northwest Studios in Seattle, where Tingley said the real work began.
“They teach you everything – how to project your voice, how to dress for an audition, how to have the right facial expressions, what to expect,” Tingley said in a tone of voice that left little doubt as to his ability to project.
It’s not just his ability to portray something the director wants that sets him apart, his mother said. “He’s a hard worker, too. I’ve tried to raise him to not be afraid of being what he really is, of finding out who he is for himself,” she said, “and that’s not easy for a kid to do. People expect certain things of you and when you don’t measure up they can be cruel.”
Joni Tingley is a granddaughter of 1950s Blaine mayor Wynn Haws, her son’s namesake, and is also a 1974 graduate of Burlington high school. She married her high school sweetheart Larry Tingley eight years later when he came home on leave from military duty.
The Seattle International Film Festival will premier “Max Rules” on Saturday June 12 at 11 a.m. and again on Sunday June 13 at 1:30 p.m. at the Egyptian Theater, 805 East Pike Street in Seattle. Tickets are $4.