WINTHROP, Maine — From running along a mountain top to crossing a stream one rock at a time, 12-year-old Maguire Anuszewski did it all for his part as a young Donn Fendler.
The Winthrop boy portrays Fendler, who at 12 became lost on Mount Katahdin in summer 1939 in the concept film “Lost On A Mountain In Maine” that will premiere Wednesday at the Maine International Film Festival at the Waterville Opera House.
Maguire met Fendler, now in his 80s, at a book signing.
“He told me to make him look good,” he said.
Fendler had been on a family trip to Mount Katahdin when he and his friend went up ahead to hike. A big storm rolled in and the two hid in a cave. Fendler went out to try to find his dad but he got lost because of the fog, Maguire said. He was lost for nine days.
Maguire is no stranger to acting.
He has been performing in plays for the past few years and did some voice-overs for his mother, Kristel Anuszewski, for her drama classes when he was 6 or 7. His mother is a teacher at Spruce Mountain High School in Jay.
Maguire said he was on his way to baseball camp one day and heard on the radio that producer/director Ryan Cook, a Waterville native, would be conducting interviews in Waterville for the part in the film.
He waited in line with his mother, more than a 100 people ahead of them waiting to audition.
But Maguire didn’t have to wait as long as anticipated once Cook got a look at him.
“He loved my look,” Maguire said.
He memorized his lines, thought out his acting parts and went into action.
“We did the concept film and trailer all at once,” he said.
Cook and co-producer and director, Derek Desmond need to raise $1.5 million to produce the movie, Kristel Anuszewski said Monday. The concept film is what they will use to try and get investors to invest in the project, she said. Both men are Emerson College graduates.
The first day of filming was on Mount Washington in New Hampshire, Maguire said.
They filmed Maguire and his friend running atop the mountain peak and when Maguire, as Fendler, got lost. They also filmed the search parties there.
Other parts of the film were filmed near Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley and in Cathedral Pines in Eustis.
Maguire said he also went into the woods behind his house to yell “help me” as loud as he could, which was also captured for the film.
His last line on the trailer was also filmed there.
“Someone will find me. I just have to keep going.”
There is a difference between performing on stage than in a film, he said. On stage you have to overexaggerate a part and make facial expressions because the people are so far away. When doing a film, you have to play it down, he said.
He had to fall 30 or so times to get a scene right in the Carrabassett River, he said.
Intentionally falling is hard.
“People are not used to purposely falling,” he said. Everything has to be ready and just right.
It was difficult at first to express himself because he had to do it with body actions.
“There is so much freedom in your lines and you show much of it through expressions,” he said.
Maguire’s sister, Kerrigan, 10, has a cameo in the film as one of two girls running. His mother is Mrs. Fendler in the trailer. His father Loren did a body-double at a distance in one scene, he said.
Maguire has seen the concept film. He is excited to see it on the big screen.
“I just had so much fun doing it. I gained the knowledge of film. I gained a lot of experience. I gained memories,” he said.
He also learned more about Maine.
It was so much fun working with Cook and Desmond, he said.
“I really hope I don’t grow too much so I can work with them again,” he said, of growing out of the part before it is made into a movie.