Will Wright (Thomas Sneed)
Will Wright was born with a natural gift for baseball in the whistle-stop town of Newton, South Carolina. Defying his father’s wishes, Will leaves home at 17 to play ball on the other side of the tracks—for the Newton Mill Sluggers. Will learns to play hard but he also starts to live hard. After several destructive choices that finally catch up with him, Will struggles to answer the question: is there a way back up when you’ve come to the end of yourself?
The role of Will Wright was Thomas Sneed’s first major role in a feature film. He came to the screen with acting experience in Shakespearean theatre and student productions. Thomas has two degrees from Bob Jones University, and he lives in Ohio with his wife and daughter.
Chick Spangler (Ben Ascher)
Chick Spangler scrambles to keep from being overshadowed by big brother Pike. With a quick sense of humor and a healthy dose of boyish exuberance, Chick sparks the Newton team forward from the pitcher’s mound. His whole world is baseball until the day he discovers he’s been missing something all his life.
Several people associated with the production of Milltown Pride, including screenwriter David Burke, told Ben Ascher that he looked perfect for the part of Chick Spangler. At the time of his participation in the film, Ben was a senior at Bob Jones University. He has since graduated and lives with his wife in Tennessee.
Ginnie Douglas (Becca Kaser)
Ginnie Douglas loves to make everyday life a little brighter for the kids at Newton Mill. She discovers a new interest in baseball when “Iron Will” Wright attracts a following in the mill village. As long as Will sets a sterling example for the boys, Ginnie proves his biggest fan. But she fiercely opposes anyone who might lead youngsters astray.
Becca Kaser, former member of the Bob Jones University Theater Arts faculty, came to Milltown Pride with an acting background in Shakespearean theatre. The character of Ginnie Douglas was her first major role in a feature film. Becca is married and has one son.
John Douglas (Chuck Binns)
John Douglas augments his workday at the mill by taking mill-village boys on all sorts of outings and adventures. A master bat-maker, John feels most at home when turning a new stick of hickory on his lathe. But his deepest satisfaction comes from seeing young men turn out true and strong and ready for a productive life.
Chuck Binns is a construction supervisor who also spent 10 years working with the Academy of Arts, a Christian drama and music ministry that travels across the country. A Greenville native, Chuck and his wife, Jan, have 5 children. Playing Ginny’s father gave him the chance to work closely with college students, an experience he calls “refreshing.”
Pike Spangler (Logan Phillips)
Pike Spangler has always been top dog on the Newton team—but his fortunes change when Iron Will’s prowess at the plate takes off. The oldest Spangler boy rages against the town boy who can just show up one day and turn the whole team upside down. Pike’s natural mean streak deepens as he broods on ways to eliminate Will once and for all.
The last time Logan Phillips acted in a play was in the fourth grade. But after Logan took an introductory film course, his professor encouraged him to try out for Milltown Pride because “he thought I could play a bad guy”. Since his participation in Milltown Pride, Logan has graduated from Bob Jones University and is married and living in South Carolina.
Ezekiel Wright (Dr. Darren Lawson)
A prominent Newton banker, Ezekiel Wright is quite proud of his settled position in “town” where he keeps a respectable distance from the folks out on “mill hill.” A stern father, he sees his purpose in life as preserving Newton’s traditions and way of life.
Darren is the academic dean of the School of Fine Arts and Communication at Bob Jones University and enjoys anything associated with the stage—including acting, directing and producing. He is a regular actor in the Bob Jones University Classic Players and serves as stage director for the Opera Association. The role of Ezekiel Wright in Milltown Pride is his first appearance in an Unusual Films production. Darren is married to Sarah, a distance education teacher at BJU Press Distance Learning, and they have one son.
Rachel Wright (Sarah Lawson)
Rachel Wright sees a mission field in Robert and William, the two boys God has given her to raise. Though her husband can seem distant at times, Rachel supports him while doing all in her power to show her boys God’s unconditional love for them.
Sarah spends her days teaching the award-winning BJU Press Distance Learning homeschool curriculum. In 2006, she won the prestigious Gold award from the United States Distance Learning Association for her work on K-5 Beginnings. Sarah enjoyed in her role as the mother of Will Wright. It wasn’t difficult for her to imagine the role since she and her husband, Darren, are the parents of Cameron, a graduate of Bob Jones University.
Scoup Williams (Ken Hines)
Scoop Williams lives and breathes Newton Mill ball—and has from his earliest days at the mill games. Never much of a player, Scoop is proud that he has been around long enough to know what makes a team rise to the top. If he has his way, the Newton Sluggers will always be feared in the textile mill league.
Ken Hines works with The Academy of Arts Ministries as an evangelist, instructor and master technician. He’s also a senior cast member at the Logos Theater. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sacred fine arts, and his production credits include voice characterizations for Majesty Music’s Patch the Pirate Adventures and film appearances in Venture Films’ “Daybreak” and “Heaven’s Embrace.” Ken lives in Greer, SC, with his wife, Lydia, and his son, Mark, and daughter, Meredith.
Bo Spangler (Roy Rogers)
Bo Spangler is the youngest brother of Chick Spangler and Will Wright’s biggest fan. Will is very fond of Bo and treats him just like a little brother. When Will starts having trouble, Bo still faithfully looks up to him. Will Bo’s unchanging admiration in Will be justified?
Roy Rogers is the youngest son of David Rogers, a long-time staff member of Unusual Films. The role of Bo Spangler was Roy’s first minor role in an Unusual Films production.
Young Will (Daniel Smitley)
Young Will Wright loves baseball. One day while going to retrieve a croquet ball from the woods, he meets up with Chick Spangler, who invites him to come and play baseball with some mill boys. Will is faced with a choice of returning to the Sunday school picnic that was being held at his family’s home or joining Chick and his friends to play ball. Will’s decision to play ball foreshadows the choice he makes later as a seventeen year old.
Daniel Smitley was 12 years old when he played the role of Young Will. He came to the film with a background in little league baseball and also having played the role of young Pip in Great Expectations.
Young Chick (Willy Walker)
Young Chick Spangler is a friendly mill town boy who invites Young Will to play ball with him and some other boys. Although Will is obviously from “the other side of the tracks,” this doesn’t stop him from befriending Will. Through his influence, Will is able to play ball regularly and grow in his skills as a player.
Willy Walker was 14 when he played the role of Young Chick. This was his first role in a feature-length motion picture. Willy came with a lot of experience with acting in video productions since his mother, Evanna Walker, an instructor for BJU Distance Learning, had used him to fill several roles in instructional videos she had written and produced. One of Willy’s favorite parts of filming Milltown Pride was the cast’s trip to a train trestle in North Carolina where several scenes were filmed.
Young Pike (Stephen Hawkey)
Young Pike Spangler is as mean as his brother Chick is nice. When Young Chick brings Young Will to play baseball with the mill boys, Pike’s sizes him up as a “town boy” and his dislike of Will is firmly established. To top it off, something funny happens during the baseball game when Pike is at bat, and the bat breaks. He accuses his brother and Will. He fully intends to get even with that “town boy”!
Stephen Hawkey, who was 14 during the shooting of Milltown Pride, played the minor role of Young Pike. This was his first appearance in an Unusual Films production. Stephen said of his experience, “It was an amazing experience to be part of the film as an actor.” He really enjoyed the day he and the other boys in the film got together to play baseball.