OCC professor talks of success in ‘Batman v Superman’ film

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott, Sherri Kolade | C&G Newspapers | Published April 11, 2016

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FARMINGTON HILLS/WEST BLOOMFIELD — Dennis North is used to seeing his name in lights. 

But the lights shone even brighter for the Oakland Community College Orchard Ridge fine and performing arts department professor with his latest role as a scheming politician in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

“It’s something,” North said of his character, Senator Barrows. “This is the biggest project I’ve ever worked on. I play a crooked politician — it is fun to play the greedy kind of politician occasionally. That was a blast.” 

In addition to acting and teaching, North is also a casting director and has been featured in about 10 films, including “LOL” in 2012 and “The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations” in 2009, according to www.imdb.com, an online movie database.

His latest film, set primarily in Detroit, is about Batman going toe-to-toe with the Man of Steel himself, Superman, as the world decides which superhero is the better choice, according to imdb.com.

Other stars in the film include Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne, Henry Cavill as Clark Kent, and Amy Adams as Lois Lane.

The movie, budgeted at  $250 million, has raked in over $700 million at the box office.

The movie was filmed in southeast Michigan in 2014, hiring a number of local actors, including roughly 3,000 extras, according to a published report. One scene was even filmed at Lakepoint Market, a party store located in Keego Harbor, on May 15, 2014.

Some well-known local powerhouses featured in the movie include radio personality Jay Towers, cast as a reporter; Sen. Debbie Stabenow as the Metropolis governor; and former President and CEO of the Detroit Institute of Arts Graham W.J. Beal as a museum director.

Emmy-nominated producer and West Bloomfield resident Sam Logan Khaleghi also appeared in the film. 

Logan Khaleghi was nominated for an Emmy as a producer for “Prison Boat” in 2010, and he was the executive producer/producer for “Approaching Midnight”  and the unit production manager for “Brick Mansions,” starring the late Paul Walker. 

In “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” Logan Khaleghi spent three days filming as a character named D.C. Protester. 

“The sequence takes place in Washington, D.C., and I played a character whose personal opinions are skeptical of Superman on Earth,” Logan Khaleghi said. “It was really cool, because (I’m) part of that comic book universe now.” 

Logan Khaleghi grew up watching Batman and Superman cartoons and reading the comics; having the opportunity to work with big-name actors was “another amazing experience,” he said. After auditioning for the part multiple times, he landed the role. He said it was exciting to work with the artisans who were in charge of things like set design and wardrobe, and also to have a trailer with his name on it just 10 feet away from those of Affleck and Adams.

“I don’t think there are going to be any D.C. Protester action figures, but that would be cool if there would,” he said, laughing. 

Logan Khaleghi recalled North’s role and said that the OCC professor had some “great scenes” in the movie. 

“Students have to be really excited to see their theater professor in one of the biggest movies of the year,” Logan Khaleghi said.

North said his scenes were shot throughout the course of two months about a year and a half ago.

“I was so excited to see what was going to happen and see the special effects and (computer-generated imagery),” he said.  

North said that when he first started shooting, it was nerve-wracking on his first day, but meeting his co-stars helped.

“The fear kicked in. Will you be able to do this?” he said. “It is nice getting on the set knowing that everybody is nervous.”

North said his co-stars were good at what they do, adding that it was great working with the cast, including Jesse Eisenberg playing Lex Luthor. 

“(They are) gracious, wonderful actors, and it is so much fun working with them and watching. It is always fun watching somebody else’s work,” he said.

North said that when he auditioned for the role, he didn’t even know it was for the movie because it was kept a secret. When he discovered that he got a part in the film, he initially declined because he was busy with another role.

“When I auditioned for the movie, I did not know I was auditioning for the movie,” he said. “They had it under a fake name because the entire script was hush and secret.”

As the head of the Orchard Ridge theater program, he said appearing in the film has been “fun for the program.”

“Someone asked me the other day, ‘Do you think this (movie) will lead to other things?’ You got to understand this is the career,” North said. “It is a nice gig in the middle of a career.”

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