"House of Ghosts" director Christopher Mihm, right, films Lakeville actor Andy Wilkins during a shoot Nov. 19 in Minneapolis. (Photo submitted)
Last Saturday, Andy Wilkins had his work cut out for him: It was his job to open a portal to the great beyond.
In his first film role, the 27-year-old Lakeville actor is cast as a spirit-medium in the 1950s-style horror film "House of Ghosts."
"I get to be kind of creepy," he said. "I'm a really animated guy (in real life), so to take that and play sort of this creepy, dispassionate character is really challenging. I tried to channel a little bit of Rod Serling."
The four-hour shoot inside a Minneapolis home last weekend had Wilkins leading a seance-like scene, gazing into a crystal ball and summoning the film's titular specters.
It's a choice role for Wilkins, a horror film fanand a gore/zombie makeup hobbyistwho's a regular performer and director with the Lakeville-based community theater group Expressions.
Through one of the actors in an Expressions play he directed earlier this year, Wilkins was introduced to Christopher Mihm, the Arden Hills-based schlock-horror auteur directing "House of Ghosts."
Mihm, who works on a shoestring budget and doesn't pay his actors, aims to achieve the feeland campinessof classic black-and-white horror films.
For example, to complete the seance scene in "House of Ghosts," after the camera work wrapped up Wilkins headed to the home's basement to re-record his dialogue, as Mihm prefers to dub in actors' lines to give his films that vintage eldritch aura.
Wilkins, a 2003 Lakeville High School graduate who works as a voiceover artist and copy writer for a Bloomington ad agency, said his first foray into film has been a positive one.
"I'd love to do more film roles," he said. "I'm having a blast with this production."
"House of Ghosts" is scheduled to premiere in the Twin Cities in May, and information about the film can be found on the director's website, www.sainteuphoria.com.