Colton Lasater and Ron Morris have quite the Camas connection.
Lasater, 18, an actor, and Morris, a retired airline pilot turned film director, lived in the same neighborhood for several years.
Lasater is good friends with Morris’s children.
And they are both passionate about film. Now, they’ll take that passion and meld it together for “Blake’s Country,” Morris’s first feature-length film.
The movie is about 15-year-old Blake Nelson (Kylie Morgan), an up-and-coming country music singer on a grueling summer tour with other young stars. On the verge of her big break, Nelson struggles with the recent death of her mother and her father’s subsequent plunge into alcoholism. She finds help in her friendships with Dylan Martin (Lasater) a teen idol who is the star performer on the tour.
However, Dylan begins to ignore her for an older country singer, and Blake flees the tour and heads for the country and her happier past. There, she must face the biggest decision in her young life: Give up her dream of singing or return to the stage she loves.
Morris, who has been script writing for years, said he got the inspiration for the movie after he wrote a short narrative after visiting a fellow airline pilot and his daughter.
The daughter, a young aspiring singer and actress, had enough talent to shoot a short film, according to Morris.
So, he wrote a short film, “Blake’s Ballad,” and it premiered at the Lake Arrowhead Film Festival this past June.
“It was very well received,” he said. “So I decided to make it into a feature length film.”
“Blake’s Country,” took approximately six months to write, edit and finalize.
After he wrote the script, Morris knew who he wanted for the male lead: Lasater.
“Colton has been acting since he was 6,” he said. “He was always the lead in the all the Portland plays and is very dedicated to his craft. Also, he is well-thought of by Portland producers and directors. He was chosen because he was perfect for the role. He’s the right age and has the look and talent.”
Lasater has accumulated quite a few acting credentials for someone who just turned 18 in December.
He has performed in 14 plays, done commercials for Addias, Columbia Sportswear, Fred Meyer and the Oregon Children’s Theatre, and starred in the series, “Addison’s Wall,” as well as played a guest role in “Leverage,” on TNT.
He recently finished working on the film, “Restless,” directed by Gus Van Sant. A release date is in the works.
Locally, he is represented by Ryan Artist Inc., and his Los Angeles manager is Neil Hassman of Hassman Fitzgerald Entertainment.
Lasater said the most enjoyable aspect of acting is the creativity.
“Growing up, I was always a creative kid and loved dressing up in costume,” he said. “The biggest part for me is playing another person. It’s like taking on a whole different personality.”
When Morris contacted him about potentially playing the lead role in “Blake’s Country,” Lasater thought it would be a great fit.
“When we begin filming, the connection will be there right from the start,” he said. “You really get to know a director when you spend that much time on a set, but I’ll be able to start already knowing him. It’s nice.”
In addition to acting, Lasater enjoys snowboarding and water sports, and has played soccer and participated in gymnastics, as well as various plays and musicals at Camas High School, where he is a senior.
“CHS has been fabulous with everything,” he said. “The teachers know what I do and are very good about letting me leave. I get my schboul work before I go and do it while I’m away. I seem to manage pretty well.”
While being interviewed by the Post-Record, Lasater was in Los Angeles visiting colleges. He is considering attending either Chapman University or California Institute of the Arts.
The other option is to attend Santa Monica Community College for the first two years and continue his acting career.
“It’s hard to work and meet all the requirements for Chapman or Cal Arts,” he said. “At community college, I’d have time to be able to do both.”
For now, he’s focused on finishing up his senior year and looking forward to the start of filming “Blake’s Country,” in Bend, Ore., in July.
“I think it’s awesome that Camas can have both an actor and director (in the same film),” he said. “We both believe in each other.”
“The two of us from Camas are coming together in Bend,” he said. “I think that if you can include a star that you knew from the time he was a little kid, it’s a nice personal connection.”
Lasater’s mother, Michelle, is also his manager. But she maintains a “hands-off” approach as far as what her son decides to pursue.
“We’ve pretty much let him make his own decisions,” she said. “It’s been easy to step back because he is so dedicated. I’m there for guidance and to make sure no one takes advantage of him. But he pretty much stands on his own.”
When asked how she felt about him being cast as the lead male role in a full-length film, Michelle said, “I’m extremely proud of him. He has worked extremely hard and I think this is fantastic.”
For more information about Laster, visit www.coltonlasater.com.
To learn more about the movie, visit www.blakescountrymovie.com.
“Blake’s County,” also has a facebook page, www.facebook.com/BlakesCountry.
Beginning in March, there will be a fan club added to the movie website.
In April, a “Dare to Dream” sweepstakes will be added, in which a ‘tween girl and her friend will have the opportunity to be extras in the movie.