‘Church Ball’ rolls ahead


    By Michael Walker

    Look out, basketball-obsessed Mormons, ?Church Ball? is set to hit theaters early next year.

    It?s a title that evokes fond memories, unforgettable images and fervent emotions. The film, set for a February 2006 release date, was made by the same producer and director duo, Dave Hunter and Kurt Hale, that brought us ?The RM,? ?Singles Ward,? ?The Best Two Years? and the recent ?Sons of Provo.?

    ?Church Ball? also boasts several high-profile actors, including Fred Willard, famous for his quirky and hilarious mocku-mentaries ?Waiting for Guffman,? ?A Mighty Wind? and ?Best in Show? and Gary Coleman (?Diff?rent Strokes?). Also starring will be two lesser-known brothers of Owen Wilson and Ron Howard: Andrew Wilson (?Zoolander?) and Clint Howard (?Apollo 13?).

    The story centers around two opposing ward teams competing for the last time to win the coveted trophy. It?s set in the last year the church will officially sponsor the sport, so whichever team wins the trophy keeps it forever. Fred Willard plays a quirky LDS bishop, who encourages Dennis Buckstead (Andrew Wilson) to go all the way in the championship. The team is full of misfits, and the championship game is set to be one of the most important showdowns in history ? ?Church Ball. For glory, for honor, for crying out loud!?

    Daryn Tufts, a local actor with a small role in the movie, described participating in Halestorm films as a unique experience.

    ?Working on Halestorm films is always really enjoyable,? Tufts said. ?It?s like one big reunion because the same people work on all the films and there are a lot of people having a lot of fun. It?s like going and seeing old friends.?

    Tufts has had a small to major role in several Halestorm films, including ?Singles Ward,? ?The RM? and ?The Home Teachers.?

    ??Church Ball? has the potential to be a film that will appeal to more than just LDS audiences,? said producer Dave Hunter in a news release. ?We?ve taken a lot of time on this intentionally. This movie could, and should, become a classic.?

    His partner, director Kurt Hale, also shared why he believes the film will have such a wide appeal.

    ?The concept is great because it?s not just Mormon-specific,? Hale said. ?Church basketball is a part of so many different religions out there. The Mormons just happen to make it famous.?

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