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Fargo native returns to area to act in horror movie being filmed at Kirkbride

Fargo native Shane Schroeder, who goes by the screen name Shane Phillip, has been filming the movie "The Control Group" at the Kirkbride building in Fergus Falls, Minn., this past month. Courtesy photo

After moving away from Fargo a few years ago, Shane Schroeder probably never thought he'd make his return to the area under these conditions.

The 25-year-old Fargo native, who now lives in Minneapolis, is a cast member in the horror film "The Control Group." The movie is being filmed in the Kirkbride building in Fergus Falls, the former Minnesota State Hospital for the Insane, built in 1906, but now closed.

Schroeder, who goes by the screen name Shane Philip, and the rest of the cast and crew have been filming scenes from the movie for the past month, and are close to finishing up.

"The Control Group," which is Schroeder's first time acting in a movie, is a story about five college students abducted by a government operation that's testing a nefarious new drug, while also being haunted by a supernatural spirit.

Shroeder plays Corey, one of the college students. Oscar-nominated actor Brad Dourif ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest") plays the government operation's doctor.

The movie is slated to be released sometime in 2013.

We spoke with Schroeder last week in between filming sessions, where he had only good things to say about his first film experience.

How'd you get the role in the movie?

I was looking on Craigslist, and I just happened to check the movies/entertainment jobs section. There was an ad on there, and I auditioned. It was kind of a nice surprise to get the role.

Did you have much experience with acting before the movie?

When I was living in Fargo, my first acting experience was at the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theater. I was in "Sleepy Hollow" and a few other plays there too.

But I kind of wanted to expand my horizons, so that's why I moved to Minneapolis. They have tons of theater there, and they have lots of opportunities in terms of expanding. But I never expected to do a movie, that's for sure.

What's been the most interesting part of your experience with 'The Control Group?'

I had never known how a movie works, and how a five minute scene in a movie could take anywhere from one to two days to film.

It's crazy, I went to see "The Dark Knight Rises" recently, and I can't even enjoy a movie anymore without thinking, "Oh wow, they probably had to do a lot of takes for this."

The breakdown of how a movie works has just completely changed my view. It makes me respect movies a lot more - there's probably a 100-person cast and crew that are making this happen, and I never had any idea how much work it is.

One scene in "The Control Group," which will be only two minutes long, took probably 14 hours to complete. It's crazy it takes so long just for that.

Of your experience with the movie, what would you say you've enjoyed the most?

I mean, the (Kirkbride) building itself, the first couple of days you're here, you just feel some sort of weird presence. The building's gorgeous. It's creepy, but it's beautiful.

That's been one of the big highlights of being here - some of the rooms are just how they looked back in 1920.

It's also been a really, really great experience just talking with other actors, and learning from them. I got to work with Brad Dourif, which was great.

There are people here from Los Angeles, New Mexico, Minneapolis, and even local people from Fergus Falls.

What's next for you after filming ends?

I have a couple of auditions in Minneapolis for a short film and a variety show, and then there's a movie for the History Channel that I was trying to get an audition for.

After that, I'm hoping to move to Los Angeles sometime in the next six months to try and pursue more acting opportunities there.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535