Appalachian Trial Character and Actor Bios

jonCUPJeremy Crandall (Jonathan Kappel)

Jeremy Crandall is twelve years old and attends the same Christian school as the Hart kids. Having lost his mother a year ago, he’s still working through his grief and the changed family structure. He’s not thrilled about going on the camping trip with the Harts, and his bad attitude leads to a reprimand from his father.  Little does he know that the camping trip will change his life forever.

Jonathan Kappel’s first appearance in an Unusual Films production was as a child extra in The Treasure Map. The character of Jeremy Crandall was Jonathan’s first major film role. Since his participation in Appalachian Trial, Jonathan has gone on to graduate from Bob Jones University with a BS in Radio and Television Broadcasting.  He has also served in the South Carolina Army National Guard since 2010. Jonathan is married and has one child.


gabby3Kayla Hart (Gabrielle Huntress)

Kayla Hart is 12 years old and somewhat of a “know-it-all.” Though she and her family have prayed about the camping trip with the Crandalls, she’s not looking forward to it—especially since it means spending time with Jeremy Crandall. But through the trip, she learns to move beyond herself and lean into someone else’s need.

The role of Kayla Hart was the first major film role for Gabrielle (who goes by “Gabby”).  She has since graduated from high school and is living in Maine.



brendenCupBrendan Crandall (Ryan Kappell)

Brendan Crandall is 10 years old and the younger brother of Jeremy. Knowing he’s not an experienced camper, he’s done his research and comes as fully prepared as he knows how to be for the camping trip with the Harts. Though the others are amused by his survival kit, it comes in handy later on.

Ryan’s first major role was as Brendan Crandall in Appalachian Trial. He is the real-life brother of Jonathan Kappell who played Jeremy Crandall in Appalachian Trial.  Later Ryan was an extra in Milltown Pride. Since his participation in Milltown Pride, he has gone on to graduate from Bob Jones University with a degree in Business Administration and Management.


samCupZack Hart (Samuel Worley)

Zack Hart, Kayla’s brother, is a small 9 year old boy whose strength and health is not equal to the other kids. Although he’s slight, he manages to tough it out even when the going gets rough.

The role of Zack Hart was Samuel’s first major role with Unusual Films. Samuel was later cast in a minor role in Milltown Pride playing the character Robert Wright. He is currently working on an undergraduate degree at Bob Jones University.



jaycupMr. Josh Hart (Jay Bopp)

Josh Hart is a caring father and devoted Christian. Wanting to reach out to the Crandall family after Ellen Crandall’s death, he invites them to go on a camping trip with his family.  An experienced camper, he’s a good teacher and host.  When the kids unexpectedly go missing, he proves himself to be a good leader and encourages his friend Ed along the way.

Jay Bopp is a talented graphic design artist and faculty member at Bob Jones University. Playing the role of Josh Hart was Jay’s first major role in an Unusual Films production. Jay is now the Chairman of the Division of Art & Design at Bob Jones University.  Oh, and did we mention that he plays a mean bagpipe?


MrsBoppCupMrs. Karen Hart (Nancy Bopp)

Karen Hart is a warm and friendly woman. She is a perfect complement to her husband, Josh. Capable and confident, she knows just what to do when disaster strikes.

Nancy Bopp is the wife of Jay Bopp who plays Josh Hart in the film. Karen Hart was Nancy’s first major film role with Unusual Films. Nancy was a writer for BJU Press for several years and is the author of a children’s book published by the Press called “The Gardener’s Gold Ring.”

Nancy and Jay are grandparents and have two grown and married daughters.


pyleCupMr. Ed Crandall (Ron Pyle)

Ed Crandall is a widower with two boys. Since his wife’s death less than a year ago, he’s gotten away from the Lord and been hard on his eldest son, Jeremy. Receiving an invitation from the Hart’s to join them on a camping trip, he accepts thinking that it would be a good thing for his boys. He is not an experienced camper, so the trip has quite a learning curve for him.  But not only that, he finds the Lord again through the trial he’s about to face.

Ron has played Rev. Pryde in Sheffey and Yuri in The Printing.  His most recent Unusual Films’ role was Mr. Crandall in Appalachian Trial.  Ron has also directed and acted in many Shakespearean plays.