Monday, December 11, 2023

Marcus senior earns major role in star-studded Christmas movie

Claire Capek has filmed hundreds of auditions. She’s also memorized thousands of pages of scripts, wowed casting directors at nearly every turn, and kept her chin up despite her fair share of no callbacks — all with the belief that her first big acting break was somewhere out there in the universe.

Well, her big break finally came. And now, the 17-year-old Marcus High School senior is back to playing the waiting game.

Only this time, it’s for the world premiere date.

Capek will star alongside Candace Cameron Bure and Marc Blucas in “A Christmas…Present,” slated to air Nov. 27 on the Great American Family channel. In the movie, Maggie Larson (Bure) is a busy Type-A mom and successful real estate agent who travels with her husband (Blucas) and kids to spend Christmas with her widowed brother and his daughter. Through a series of transformative events, Maggie learns to slow down and embrace the reason for the season.

Capek plays Bure’s daughter, Becca Larson. She hopes this is the first significant domino to fall in her budding career.

“I hope so. It’s exciting,” Capek said. “[Filming a movie] honestly hasn’t felt long enough; it went by fast. But it’s exciting, and I love everyone I work with. They’ve all been so nice and welcoming. I’m happy every time I’m on set.”

“A Christmas…Present” is part of the Great American Family channel’s holiday programming, which kicked off on October 21 and will feature Christmas movies every day through the end of the year. This particular film has been making headlines considering it is Bure’s — most people know her as D.J. Tanner from “Full House” — first original Christmas movie since her Hallmark exit. She signed with Great American Media in April to develop, produce, and star in movies and television.

The chance to work with such a star-studded cast is huge for Capek. The 5-foot-10-inch strawberry blonde from Highland Village was initially spotted at an impromptu runway walk for a kids’ magazine when she was 5 years old. By the time she got to the front of the runway, the judges had already pulled her aside and were enamored by the pint-sized diva.

She was signed by the Kim Dawson Agency and graced the North Texas Child magazine cover when she was 6. That early success kick-started quite a successful modeling career, which has seen Capek model for the JC Penny, American Girl, and Academy Sports product catalogs and various other opportunities. Two years ago, she added 42 Model Management to the management roster for modeling. But she stayed with Kim Dawson for acting and continues to train with Cathryn Sullivan’s Acting for Film to perfect her craft.

Until recently, she was always oh-so-close to a big break.

“She constantly has acting auditions and has done several videos and short films. But the challenge was that while non-stop training at Cathryn Sullivan’s Acting for Film for 11 years, she was always getting very close to a bigger opportunity but never got that one big break,” Claire’s mother, Shannon, said. “There just weren’t a lot of perfect fits acting-wise for a 5-10 redhead.”

She added, “To get told no hundreds of times and to finally get this one means a lot.”

Claire agreed.

“It’s been a big rollercoaster ride because I have always been working and doing something,” Claire said of her modeling and acting career. “I remember getting this script and treating it as just another audition. I told myself I’d do my best as always and let it go into the universe. I honestly didn’t think about it after that, because, after years of auditioning, I learned that is the best way to not stress over it.  But then I got the email from my agent about a callback.”

Claire auditioned for “A Christmas…Present” on August 29 and received her first callback roughly a week later. Ironically, the Zoom video callback was scheduled for the same day the Capeks were scheduled to work the annual St. Ann’s Carnival at their church in Coppell.

Claire and Shannon brought all her equipment and set up in an empty room for the callback.

“We’ve always prayed for the right job at the right time and for her to be surrounded by the right people,” Shannon said. “The fact that the callback was for a Christian-based movie — and it took place at our church — was an amazing sign.”

Claire was quickly offered the role of Becca Larson. Even though she was 8 inches taller than Bure, her height matched perfectly with her on-set dad, Marc Blucas. They started filming on September 22, and Claire wrapped up her final day on set on October 12 at 2:15 a.m.

From there, it was back to reality to take her midterm exams and prepare for the Homecoming dance.

And in a few short days, she’ll likely be throwing the biggest local premiere party of all time.

“It’s going to be an exciting time to see it all finished and on television,” Claire said. “We’ll be watching.”

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