Farrell makes brief big screen appearance

Farrell makes brief big screen appearance It only seems fitting that a movie in which you appear is the main attraction in a local theatre when you come home for Christmas. Karin Farrell, daughter of Jan and David Olson of Vermillion, makes a brief film debut in Mona Lisa Smile, which can be viewed at the Coyote 1. by David Lias No, you're not seeing things.

If the auburn-haired trumpet player in a scene of Mona Lisa Smile, currently playing at the Coyote 1 Theatre in Vermillion, seems familiar, it's because she's a hometown girl.

The film is rich with leading actresses of the day, including Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal Marcia Gay Harden and Jennifer Goodwin.

And, for a brief time, Karin Farrell, daughter of Jan and David Olson of Vermillion.

Wellesley College is the film's setting. Look for Farrell when spring arrives and Wellesley celebrates its Spring Fling. Part of the entertainment is the Wellesley Girls Big Band.

Farrell's experience playing trumpet on a Broadway orchestra, and her acquaintance with a musician who performs in the film helped her be cast as a member of the girls' band.

"They wanted young, attractive musicians who really play well � they wanted a good band � and so he recommended me and I got the call that way," she said. "They wanted people to hopefully be actresses as well as musicians, and I kind of fit the bill."

In the film, Roberts plays Katherine Watson, a new instructor at the prestigious college.

"Julia Roberts' character is an art teacher and she is sort of a liberal teacher and trying to get the girls to think in another way," Farrell said. "It's a period piece, it takes place in the '50s, and all of the girls are thinking 'Here I am at Wellesley, and then I get married and have kids and take care of my husband who will be the CEO of his company.'

"That's the ideal, so she (Roberts) is trying to change their thinking," Farrell said. "She tries to get one to go to law school, and get them to think more broad-mindedly, and not focus so much on marriage."

Encouraging these women to strive for a more enlightened future, Watson challenges the administration and inspires her students to look beyond the image of what is, and consider the possibilities of what could be.

The character on the screen and the real-life Julia Roberts are somewhat similar, Farrell said.

"She's very, very nice," Farrell said. "She's was really open on set, and would always after she was done filming come back in a flannel shirt and jeans and hang out by her husband, the cameraman, Danny Moder. She is a very, very pleasant person both in person as well as on the screen."

Farrell has played in Broadway orchestras and acted on stage and in commercials. She had a ball, she said, as a member of the girls' band.

"We had the greatest charts, and we rehearsed and it was a really good band," she said. "There was a lot of good music."

She encountered a new challenge, however.

"We get on set, and it took three days to film this one scene," Farrell said. "We cannot play out loud while they are filming because they are doing the dialogue."

The musicians could rely only on their knowledge of the charts.

"They count it off, and we start playing, but we're syncing perfectly in time with the music track that had been recorded in London," she said.

The band members played silently, not guided by�the sound of their instruments, but by a thumping beat provided on the set.

"The beat was so low that you couldn't hear it, so we're all relying on our own musicianship to count and stay together and cut off together," Farrell said. "It really was an experience."

She said they spent more time on set just pretending to be playing their instruments rather than actually making music.

"Finally at the end of the

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shoot, at about 4 a.m. on the last night of that scene, they let us play all of our charts so the cast could hear everything in full," Farrell said.

Spending 20 hours at a stretch in period dress and hairstyles was somewhat of a surreal experience, she said.

"Everybody is walking around in '50s-era costumes and make-up, and when you get there before the sun comes up and you leave well after the sun has gone down, and all you do occasionally is walk up and down the block � you start to forget who you really are."

Farrell has seen the film, and she did find herself on the big screen.

"I didn't end up on the cutting room floor," she said. "But I would say if you know me don't look for me, because I don't look like me. It's probably just better to go and enjoy the film.

"But it sure was a fun experience. It was just really great, and I'd love to do it more," Farrell said. "I just don't have time."

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