Dave Walpole wants to be in the next Star Wars film, and he's not afraid to let the world know it.
The Hamilton actor has posted an audition video for Star Wars Episode VII on YouTube, one that features him fighting Storm Troopers on city streets and taking a stroll with R2D2.
"With this Han Solo hair, you just can't go wrong," the 27-year-old says in the two-minute video.
He also pledges his devotion to the franchise, saying "I prefer my Tattoine blue milk over Star Trek Romulan ale any day."
Walpole has a higher calling in the video. He's donating proceeds from the video to charity: water, which provides clean water to Third World countries.
But he really does want to be in the next Star Wars film.
Not picky about which role
"I'd be happy playing anybody," he said from the backyard of his west Mountain home.
"I'd love to be that pilot that blows up, crashing into a Star Destroyer. I would love a main role. That's stretching quite a lot, but in the next series, if they go the way the comics and books have, there's offspring of Han Solo and Leia, and Luke has kids. One of those would be fine."
Walpole, who began acting in high school, is a die-hard fan of the franchise. His initiation into the Star Wars world came at age seven, when he and his brother watched all three original films in one sitting.
They collected related toys and action figures. As he's gotten older, his appreciation has only increased.
"I've always been inspired by how people can relate to it, the whole talk between good and evil," he said. "I think that's real in society. I think there are good and bad people out there."
The franchise, he said, is "something people dream about and think about consistently."
Little sleep, many auditions
Walpole is still growing his acting resume. He spent three years working as an entertainer on Caribbean cruise lines, and when he returned to Hamilton two years ago, devoted his time to acting. He works as a night security guard on film sets, grabbing a couple of hours sleep before he travels to daytime auditions, most of them in Toronto.
His credits so far have included a number of commercial gigs, an independent film called The Volunteer and Magic, a steampunk web series based in Toronto.
He filmed the audition video on May 4 — a popular day for Star Wars fans — at a Niagara Falls comic shop and his backyard in Hamilton. He found Storm Trooper and R2D2 costumes through word of mouth. He added the light saber action in post-production.
The video has about 10,000 views and plenty of attention from Star Wars fans, who are signing a petition to get him on the Ellen Show.
Walpole plans a second video. This one will depict Darth Vader giving him acting lessons. He will also head to Yonge and Dundas during Fan Expo Canada in Toronto in August, where he will hold up a QR code to the video while dressed as a Jedi. A Storm Trooper will join him.
Walpole selected charity: water after reading about water shortages in Third World countries. The more he learned, the more enthusiastic he was about getting the video out there. He's donating ad revenue as well as encouraging direct donations.
"I kind of fell in love with their campaign and how they aim to get clean water for undeveloped nations," he said. "If this video gets where we want it to go and it goes viral, it's going to help quite a lot."
But if he got an acting gig from it, he wouldn't hate that either. Many actors have their own websites, but "he's taken it to the next level," said Scott Merritt, Walpole's agent. "I'm impressed by his ambition."
Despite the humourous content, "I hope professionalism came across in that video, some way, somehow," Walpole said.
"People have been saying to me all this time, 'You got it. You're going somewhere,'" he said. "It's not being high on myself, but I finally believe what they say. I know I can do it. If I stick my nose to the ground and actually go for it, I can have a really fun career."