Tuesday, July 29
BRATTLEBORO -- Peace and love ruled at a casting call Saturday for a major motion picture about Woodstock and the 1960s.

The halls of the St. Michael's School were packed with gingham, tie dye, long hair and belly chains as local Vermonters came to try out to play extras in the film, to be directed by Ang Lee, the director of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," and "Brokeback Mountain" in association with Focus Features and Tuxedo Terrace.

The film, "Taking Woodstock," will be set during the August 1969 music festival, a behind-the-scenes look at what became known as Woodstock. It is based on a memoir by small-town official Elliot Tiber, who played an unexpected but pivotal role at the event.

Lee is looking for some local modern-day long-haired "hippies" to play extras.

The people in line to try out Saturday were there for a variety of reasons and came dressed in modern-day clothing, all-out Woodstock costume and everything in between.

Rod Munroe, of Chittenden, said the movie would be the next best thing to the real festival.

"I always wanted to do the Woodstock thing, but I was too young at the time," he said. "I saw this in the paper and I was interested. It's a part of my life I'd like to do."

Just as the real event was a chance for hippies and music lovers of the '60s to get together for three days all in one place, Munroe hoped he would meet others like him on set who had missed it. "They have shared values. The music, the camaraderie. It was a unique time in our period. My generation got kind of lost in the woods a little bit."

At 20, Sarah Kovach was not alive for Woodstock, but said she would have been there if she were. Living in Brattleboro gave her some experience in the hippy mentality, though, she said.

Drew Kovach waited with her. Having been around at the time, he explained that there are certain requirements for making the film true to the real event. "There was a lot of rain, a lot of dirt and sweat and good music. There was a burst of creativity. It was much less commercial, less corporate, relatively pure, innocent, hopeful."

Identical twins Kaelan and Aja Selbach-Broad, 11, from Westminster, one with short, cropped hair and the other with a long mane, said they wanted to make movies some day.

Although the films they hoped to make would fall into the horror genre, the experience was a can't-miss for them.

"We like movies and we like music," Kaelan said. "We've been to lots of music festivals."

Indra Tracy, of Townshend, said her reason for being there, decked out in bell bottoms, a top fashioned out of a scarf and a belly chain all pulled from her closet, was both a love of movies and a love of the time period.

"I'm star struck. I love the idea of being in a movie," she said. "I've been accused of being a hippy. It's becoming cool again."

Hoping to stick out for the casting director, Tracy filled her bag with crystals, incense and a plastic baggy of catnip. "I always want fun," she said as a reason for why she went all out for the occasion.

Elliot Dale, from Pennsylvania, and Crystal Bartlett, from New Hampshire, decided to go together as a whim the day of the call.

Bartlett said Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" was one of her favorite movies. "I like the ways he films things, the visuals, the color."

She felt Lee would be able to do justice to Woodstock.

The film also held a casting call on Sunday in Bennington.

Those chosen to appear as extras will hear from casting directors before shooting starts in the Hudson Valley of New York next month.

Nicole Orne can be reached at norne@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.