"Cal Band Member Scores Role in Upcoming Disney Movie"

by Louis Gray, The Daily Californian, 23 January 1998

A University of California Marching Band member will appear on the big screen in an upcoming film along with Juliette Lewis and Diane Keaton, Disney representatives said early this week.

UC Berkeley sophomore Jerry Miller, a mellophone player in the Cal Band, spent time between last semester's finals and winter break playing the part of a drum major in the filming of the upcoming Disney movie called "The Other Sister."

Miller was asked to play in the movie in two separate scenes, one shot in Los Angeles on an off-day between two finals last semester, and another in San Francisco last week.

According to Disney spokesperson Jeff Hare, "The Other Sister" focuses on the story of two mentally-challenged teens who fall in love.

The boy involved in the romance admires Miller's band in the film and cleans tubas for a local university band. At one point, he asks his girlfriend to meet his second love, and presents the band to her, Miller said.

Miller said that the Disney Corporation had originally considered using the Cal Band in a proposed motion picture last fall, but later decided to seek only one member.

"The (Disney) production office was thinking of using the Cal band, and they were asking us if we had an ethnic minority who had drum major experience and would be interested," Miller said. "I said, 'This sounds like me,' and I did the movie."

After realizing he fit the description, Miller auditioned for the part by sending a resume, photographs of himself and a list of his band-related activities. Miller said after they received his resume, Disney wanted to see him twirling in action.

"They said, 'Make us a videotape of what you would do in a parade,'" Miller said.

Miller and friend Gary Hsueh, who plays the tuba in the Cal Band, went to Edwards Track Stadium and videotaped a performance for Disney which included high-stepping and what Hsueh called "his drum major spiel."

He said Miller strutted his stuff to the Stevie Wonder tune "Another Star," a song frequently played by the Cal Band.

"It was a really quick videotape session, about four minutes," Hsueh said.

Hsueh said the band is one of few in the nation that performs the high step and that was probably the look that Disney wanted for the movie.

He said Miller also "strutted" for the video, a marching style involving straight-legged waist-high kicking, an act usually reserved for tuba players in the Cal Band.

Miller said he was called early one morning with the message that he had gotten the part in the movie, and the ball started rolling from there.

Stuart Fink, publicist for "The Other Sister," said that the band in the movie is "part of a climactic scene toward the end of the movie."

"That's all I am going to tell you, so you can buy a ticket and see it," Fink said, adding that the movie may not finish production until March 6.

Not bound to such a gag clause, Miller spilled his guts and gave away the band's role in the last few scenes.

Miller said that the young couple gets married in the last scene of the movie, and that right after the marriage he once again presents her with the band.

"The drum major goes by and does a neat little performance for him," Miller said. "The last grand scene is with the band marching down the street with the color guard and the couple's red Mustang behind them."

Hollywood names appearing in "The Other Sister" include former Brad Pitt squeeze Juliette Lewis, Tom Skerritt of "Top Gun" and actress Diane Keaton, known for her roles in "Annie Hall" and "Manhattan Murder Mystery."

©1998 The Daily Californian

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