Auditions held for movie about Olympic Champion, Doug Russell - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Auditions held for movie about Olympic Champion, Doug Russell

(Source: KWES) (Source: KWES)
MIDLAND, TX (KWES) -

As we mentioned a couple weeks ago, a movie about a former Midlander is in the works. It's about Midland raised Doug Russell, who beat legendary swimmer Mark Spitz at the 1968 Olympics. On Monday, the man who wrote the screenplay hosted auditions for a couple key roles.

"It was fun. I enjoyed it and dressed the part," said Floyd Prather.

Several Midlanders auditioned to play the role of a coach of an Olympic champion and former Midland Bulldog, Doug Russell.

They memorized lines of a screenplay titled, "The Man Who Beat Mark Spitz," written by someone who swam under "Coach" Doug Russell at the University of Texas at Arlington, David Bryant Perkins.

"What I'd love to do is to make an all Texas, made in Texas movie," said Perkins.

In order to do so, he traveled to Midland hoping to find authentic West Texas characters.

"I thought why not because it's about Midland, let's use as much Midland as we can, not just a few extras," said Perkins.

Perkins believes his film would portray Midland in a positive light to match the positive impression it's made on himself.

"All these qualities that are great about Midland, at least as an outsider, that I came and observed and thought wow this is really cool. Midland is really great because of x, y and z. It's in the movie," explained Perkins.

Russell earned his gold medal in 1968. Perkins hopes to bring his story to life, especially for the younger generations.

"You need a person that you can look up to no matter what sport it is, no matter what, to go like wow this person he's in this town, they went up and made it well, I can too in the field that I wanna go into. In a way, that's what Doug represents but it's being lost," said Perkins.

As for his timeline? It's pretty slow due to resources and funding, but he says persistence is key and that this part of Midland's athletic history is worth preserving.

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