Newcastle actor’s film debut is ‘All I Want is Christmas’

November 6, 2012

By Christina Corrales-Toy

Ashton Herrild, of Newcastle, plays antagonist Jack the Jerk in a still from the locally-shot film ‘All I Want is Christmas.’ By Laurie Clark Photography

Newcastle actor Ashton Herrild isn’t mean or rude, but that may be hard to believe for audiences who saw him star as the bully Scut Farkus in The 5th Avenue Theatre’s 2010 production of “A Christmas Story, The Musical!”

The 15-year-old Liberty High School sophomore is a hardworking student who enjoys doing a little acting on the side.

But for some reason, the charismatic teen keeps getting cast as an antagonist.

“I think it comes with the red hair,” he said as he smiled and pointed to his ginger locks. “You see a lot of movies with red-haired bullies just because they may be different.”

Fortunately, Ashton doesn’t mind, and it’s a good thing because he was cast as Jack the Jerk in his film debut, “All I Want is Christmas.”

The family-friendly movie tells the story of a young boy who simply wants to celebrate Christmas, but the thing is, he’s Jewish. So, the boy trades places with another kid his age and hilarity ensues.

Ashton’s character is sort of the bad guy. Jack the Jerk picks on the main character, but it isn’t all what it seems; the character has somewhat of a broken home life, Ashton said.

The movie was filmed locally in 2011 by director Sue Corcoran. The film’s setting, the fictional city of Christmastown, Wash., was actually Leavenworth, and many of the interior scenes were shot in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle.

What to know

See local actor Ashton Herrild star in the film ‘All I Want is Christmas,’ available for purchase on video on demand. Check whether your provider offers the movie at all-i-want-is-christmas.com.

It was Ashton’s first movie, but thankfully there were some acting veterans on set that he could observe and learn from.

Elliot Gould, famous for his role in “Ocean’s Eleven” and its sequels, and David DeLuise, who starred in the Disney Channel series “Wizards of Waverly Place,” had parts in the film.

“I learned a lot just by watching them and seeing them, how they carry themselves on camera, how professional they are,” Ashton said.

Ashton admitted he was a bit intimidated by the two stars, but just by watching them work, he learned the importance of doing what you love.

“Everybody around my age is thinking about what they are going to do with their lives, and seeing people act for a living is just really cool, because they take it seriously but they still have fun and they love what they do,” he said.

Beth Herrild, Ashton’s mother, said that her son has always had a passion for acting.

Film stars local actress, too

Also in the film is Pine Lake Middle School’s Hillary Dominguez, who plays the role of the Pop Star Kid.

In the movie, Dominguez’s character, Pop Star Kid, auditions for Ira Finkelstein’s Christmas play and is cast as Mrs. Clause.

“They never gave me a name for her, so I just made her Hillary,” said Dominguez, adding that being a featured extra rather than a lead turned out to be a lot of fun. “I wasn’t so worried about messing up what the director and writers were really going for, because they gave me a lot more freedom with the role.”

Dominguez spent about two weeks working on the film. During that time, she said she also enjoyed wearing all the costumes that a pop star kid might go out in. Her favorite costume was a black dress with gold sequins, silver sparkly shoes and a lot of necklaces.

“They were pretty flashy,” she said. “I don’t get to wear stuff like that very often.”

It began at just 4 years old when he was cast in “Swimmy,” a local play based on the book by Leo Lionni.

“He kind of stole the show,” she said. “All of the other parents were saying, ‘Wow, your son is so shy,’ in a tongue-and-cheek sort of way.”

As a toddler, Ashton would wake up his parents, dressed in a full costume of his own making.

The experience shooting the film solidified Ashton’s dreams of becoming an actor or a moviemaker, he said.

“It’s given me a sense of clarity in terms of what I want to do in life,” he said. “I don’t want to settle for a job that maybe society should settle for. Because I mean there are a lot of actors that don’t make it, but as long as you keep doing what you love, you will find a way to make it work.”

The film was released to the general public on video on demand on Nov. 1, but it’s already been shown at various film festivals, including the Seattle International Film Festival, where it was named one of the top 10 films shown.

“It’s a great family movie that you can watch with your kids or your parents, but it’s still really original,” Ashton said. “It’s funny and it’s local, and that’s big.”

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