Director calls for 'hippies'

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The crew of Ang Lee's newest film is holding a casting call tomorrow at the Lebanon Valley Speedway clubhouse with the hopes of recruiting "college-age-looking 18- to 30-year-olds" who pass for members of the 1960s counterculture.

At least 90 percent of the movie is being filmed in and around New Lebanon, N.Y., for the next six weeks. Extras will be paid $100 per day, and movie officials hope to hire 6,000 "background actors" to help recreate scenes from the August 1969 music festival.

Sophia Costas, extras casting director, said that's one of the larger extras rosters that she's ever worked with.

"It's definitely on the high end for films," she said. "We're happy to see whoever comes by, but we're particularly looking to target people who look like concertgoers. We need hippies."

In an advertisement for the casting call, people are asked to bring a recent photo and a valid ID, and "long hair is a plus."

Film officials held casting calls in June and July in New Lebanon, Albany, Hudson and Vermont, and thousands turned out. Hopefuls were asked questions like: Are you willing to grow facial/body hair? Are you comfortable to work in costume braless? Are you willing to camp on location for a period of time? Are you willing to do nudity? Do you own a car circa 1969 or earlier? Do you play musical instruments?

"Taking Woodstock" is based on the book of the same name written by Elliot Tiber, who helped the festival's organizers land a location in Bethel after they were turned down by the town of Walkill.

Lee, the Oscar-winning director of "Brokeback Mountain" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," began filming last week. New Lebanon's Valley Rest Motel — now dubbed the El Monaco Motel — is the epicenter of the film.

To reach Benning W. De La Mater: bdelamater@berkshireeagle.com, (413) 496-6243.

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