About 70 turn out for possible Forks reality TV show; Port Angeles, LaPush folks can join auditions today
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Sue Zalokar, who is trying out for a part in a Forks reality TV show, gets her photo taken by Zig Gauthier. About 70 turned out to vie for a spot in the proposed reality show about Forks and the Twilight phenomenon. -- Photo by Lonnie Archibald/for Peninsula Daily News

By Paige Dickerson
Peninsula Daily News

AFTER EXPLORING THE North Olympic Peninsula, Zig Gauthier, owner of Red Varden Studios of Los Angeles, decided to open auditions for a reality television show to people who live anywhere mentioned in the Twilight series of novels.

That means that in addition to Forks residents, today's auditions also are open to people living in Port Angeles and LaPush.

"It was a last-minute decision," he said Tuesday.

"But after looking at the area, I thought it was something that was very doable."

Auditions will be conducted from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at the Twilight Lounge, 81 N. Forks Ave., Forks.

Those who are interested in starring in a reality television show will fill out one-page questionnaire and have their photographs taken.

After looking at the forms, Gauthier will call back some of the applicants for video interviews, probably this afternoon.

He hopes to sell the idea to a television network.

Peninsula Daily News
FORKS -- A varied cast of characters showed up Tuesday to audition for a Forks-based reality series that a Los Angeles producer hopes sell to a television network.

About 70 people gathered at the Twilight Lounge, 81 N. Forks Ave., where producer Zig Gauthier had each fill out a questionnaire -- which asks why people want to be in the show and what makes them interesting -- and then took each person's photograph.


The real Forks

Gauthier said he hopes to find a group of people to star in a reality show to display to a world besotted by Twilight -- a four-novel vampire series set in Forks -- what the real Forks is like.

He said a few people were suspicious of the "spin" that might be put on a Forks reality show. A good deal of his time was talking to people to help them understand what he wants to do.

"We want to find a group of people to authentically show Forks," he said.

"That's all -- we're not doing a story or putting a spin on it, we just want to show the real Forks."

Gauthier was inspired to hold the auditions after seeing the phenomenon caused by the Twilight saga, which has drawn tens of thousands of people to Forks this year.

The bestselling books by Arizona author Stephenie Meyer tell a story of a human girl who lives in Forks and her werewolf and vampire suitors.

Films based on the first two books, Twilight and New Moon, have grossed millions of dollars. The film based on Eclipse is set to be released June 30.

Gauthier said he was pleasantly surprised by Tuesday's turnout. About 20 people lined up before the interviews began at noon.

The interviews will continue today. Gauthier has opened them to all who live in places mentioned in the Twilight books. So, today, people in Port Angeles and LaPush can try out, in addition to Forks residents.

Gauthier compares his idea for a reality series to the hit show, "Deadliest Catch."

"We, obviously, won't be out on the ocean or dealing with that kind of danger, but the idea is to show what it is really like," he said.

"There are a variety of ways we could do this, and I've had conversations with several networks -- but of course this is at the very beginning stages."

Familiar faces

Among the hopefuls were some familiar faces, such as Forks Chamber of Commerce Director Marcia Bingham and Mike Gurling, visitor information center manager.

"I felt like if they were going to do something, I should really at least try to be a part of it," Bingham said.

Others, such as Destiny O'Conner, have lived in Forks, left, and have now returned.

"This is something I've wanted to do forever," O'Conner said.

"Now that I'm moving back, I thought I'd really like to be on one."

O'Conner plans to attend Peninsula College and work as a nanny.

Hannah Decker, who is 8 and attends Forks Elementary, said it has been a dream of hers to be on TV.

"I have been waiting for this my whole life," she said.

She said she wants to be a "doctor for when babies are born" when she grows up, and that at school she likes playing on the equipment at recess best.

"I also like to hunt for sea glass at Clallam Bay," she said.

Kelly Shaner, 24, who graduated from Forks High School in 2003 and now works at Sunshine and Rainbows Child Development Center, said simply that he thought it would be interesting.

'Something different'

"It is something different do to," he said.

Bursting in toward the end of the interviews were three sisters from Three Rivers Resort -- Ruby Swagerty and Donna Ingram, who own the resort, and Susie Wilson, who works there on Sundays and is the "oldest and wisest sister.

Swagerty said that she was excited when she heard about the interviews for a potential reality show.

"It sounds like a fun and exciting thing to do," she said.

"We thought we'd come up and do the whole 'sister act' thing."

Wilson agreed.

"At this stage of my life -- when I'm getting close to retirement -- I think it sounds like something fun to do," she said.

Swagerty said that Twilight has been a gift to the resort.

"There is always a point in the low tourist season in winter where we start to worry about employees -- because you do get really close to them," Swagerty said.

"This year has been the first year we haven't had to even think about laying someone off."

Ingram also brought her daughter, Taylor.

"All our kids work at the resort, but not all of them wanted to come today," she said.

Taylor said it would be a dream come true to be in a television show.

High school students

In addition to the variety of community members, about a dozen high school students made a showing -- several sporting Spartan jackets, which have become popular with fans of the Twilight series.

And it wasn't just students.

Allen Lewis, a math teacher at Forks High School, also arrived in a Spartan T-shirt.

"Curiosity got the best of me, and this is something that I've always wanted to do," he said.

"I'm not shy at all, and I've always liked being in the spotlight since I was in grade school."

Robin Schostack and Elsie Hampton, both of whom work at Concerned Citizens in Forks, said they were mostly just curious.

"I'm not exactly sure I'd want to be in a show -- or that they'd want me in one," Schostak said.

Said Hampton: "I think it is a great idea, and I just hope it doesn't turn out to show anything bad about Forks.

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Reporter Paige Dickerson can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at paige.dickerson@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 22. 2009 11:42PM
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