Senior Andrew Riddle to star in feature-length film


Senior Andrew Riddle (right) sits at one of the first press conferences with fellow cast members for the film.

A familiar flash of red hair and freckles usually greets those who walk through the hallways near the theater department, chorus or band wing. For the past few weeks however, this familiar face has been missing. Senior Andrew Riddle is playing a role in the upcoming film Ping Pong Summer, which is currently in production and has taken Riddle back and forth between school and filming in Ocean City.

Written by director Michael Tully, who directed such films as Septien and Cocaine Angel, the film revolves around a teenage boy who visits Ocean City for a summer in 1985. There, he meets new friends and enemies while facing many challenges throughout the film’s duration.

Riddle plays Dale, a school bully who torments the lead protagonist during his vacation.

“I have been professionally acting since I was six, but this is my first major role in a movie, so it’s my first break,” Riddle said. “When I was younger I would do commercials, voice overs, extra or small roles in movies, but nothing this big.”

Set in 1985, the film revolves around a teenage boy who visits Ocean City for a summer who meets new friends and enemies while facing many challenges while he is there.

“[The film] is kind of like The Karate Kid, but with ping pong,” Riddle said.

Riddle will be a part of nine very long scenes, so he is scheduled for nine days of filming and eight “hold days,” which are days where an actor should plan anything just in case the producers need for them to film or redo any scenes.

For the audition, Riddle was called back to read a part from the script that they chose for each character. For Riddle in particular they wanted him to perform a scene without glasses because the producers felt that he looked more menacing without them.

“I had to memorize the scene right there because I can’t read without my glasses, so that was fun,” Riddle said. “Also for the call back they brought in another boy to portray the other bully in order to see if I could interact well.”

Riddle ended up being the only person to get a call back for the role of Dale, which is something he wasn’t expecting when he went in to read for the role.

“I was attracted to the role because [I am playing] one of the two bullies, so I would be playing a role that is completely opposite of who I am in real life,” Riddle said. “My agent said that a casting company who has seen me before wanted me to audition for this movie, so I said sure and went and read a scene for the part of Dale. They loved me as the role.”

Ever since, Ping Pong Summer has filled Riddle’s agenda with filming, hanging out with the cast, and press conferences publicizing the film.

“The cast and crew are awesome,” Riddle said. “It’s like a family and I love it! Riding in cool 80’s cars and playing ping pong all of the time is fun too.”

Besides from Riddle, heavyweight actors such as Susan Sarandon, John Hannah, Amy Sedaris and Back to the Future’s Lea Thompson make up the cast.

“The big name actors are great to work with,” Riddle said. “It’s obvious they are experienced by how they act with little instruction and even give other actors tips. They are awesome because they interact with us and are not arrogant or snooty; they talk to us and are fun to be around and act with.”

One of Riddle’s best memories of filming so far was the day when Riddle’s character, Dale, and another bully have a confrontation with Susan Sarandon’s character. The same day just happened to be Sarandon’s birthday, so they had to make fun of the actress on her birthday.

“I also got Lea Thompson to say a special message for one of the marching band instructors, Mr. Niehoff, who is a big fan,” Riddle said.

Though the exact details on where the premiere of the film will be held and when it will be released have not yet been determined, Riddle is already looking forward to further acting opportunities.

“I hope that this film helps kick start my career a lot further and will help me get more known and put more of my work out there,” Riddle said. “I feel that this [film] will open many doors for me; the only thing I have to make sure I do is actually go through those doors.”