The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

April 11, 2006

Production of ‘We Are Marshall’ movie rolls on

HUNTINGTON — Between 1,200 and 1,500 Marshall University students and Huntington residents showed up early and stayed late Monday for a chance to part of the Warner Bros. movie “We Are Marshall.”

Director McG invited all Marshall students and anyone who could pass as a Marshall student to come out and participate in the scene, during which the extras stood on the grassy area in front of the old Morrow Library and chanted “We Are Marshall.”

That particular scene will be a pivotal part in the movie as football player Nate Ruffin bursts into a board meeting, during which Marshall officials are talking about dropping football following the 1970 plane crash, and opens the window showing board members the thousands of students who have come out to support the program.

Anthony Mackie, the actor who portrays the late Ruffin, said his experience playing the beloved team captain, whose life was spared when an injury kept him off the ill-fated flight, has been a good one so far.

Because Ruffin is so fondly remembered, however, Mackie said he feels an added pressure to bring him to life and do his life justice.

“There’s a huge amount of pressure just stepping on campus,” Mackie said. “I just want to do him and his family justice. The most important thing to me is just having his family members come up to me and say I did a good job.”

Laura Shay-Griffin, a professional actress from Los Angles who is appearing in the film as a Marshall cheerleader, says she was unfamiliar with the Marshall story prior to receiving the role, but has been impressed by the way the Huntington community has rallied around the football program in the 35 years since the crash.

“We (Griffin and another extra) were just sort of walking around town yesterday, looking at the school and at the town, and I remarked that it was beautiful to see that, still today, there’s that small-town feel that wraps itself up in something like a football team and a school this intensely. It’s really beautiful.”

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