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Macocha tries to make it in Michigan movies

Chandler Macocha (click for larger version)
February 23, 2011 - Look closely at the screen the next time you go to the movies because you just might spot Oxford's own Chandler Macocha.

The 2008 Oxford High School graduate has been quite busy appearing as an 'extra' in some well-known movies being filmed right here in Michigan.

"Film and acting is kind of my passion," said Macocha, who's currently a junior at the University of Michigan. "It's what I really want to do. I've always loved being in front of the camera and acting in plays in high school."

When "Real Steel," an $80 million blockbuster starring Hugh Jackman, is released this October, look for Macocha as a red-haired bar patron watching some futuristic robot boxers duke it out.

"I appear in a scene just inches from Jackman as he directs his robot boxer in the ring," Macocha wrote in an e-mail.

Part of "Real Steel" was filmed in Oxford Township last summer, however, the scene in which Macocha appears as an extra was shot on Grosse Ile at a decommissioned Naval Air Station.

Macocha's scene takes place in a fictional bar the movie folks constructed complete with an oversized boxing ring in which the robots do battle.

Of course, there were no actual robots on set during filming because they're computer images added in later.

In this scene from “Real Steel,” due to be released this October, Oxford native Chandler Macocha (circled) is visible watching two robot boxers duke it out in the ring. This still-shot is from the official movie trailer, which can be viewed on YouTube. (click for larger version)
"At one point, there were guys in green suits on stilts just going through the motions for us," Macocha said. "The director was really good about telling us what was going on, where to look and how to react."

Macocha was surprised to learn that both he and the scene are now part of the movie's official trailer, which can be viewed on YouTube.

"That was interesting," he said. "I didn't expect that at all because the scene's supposed to be pretty short."

Working with Jackman on this scene left Macocha with a very favorable impression of the Hollywood star.

"Hugh Jackman's such a nice guy – really genuine, personable and friendly," he said. "You can tell he's the kind of guy you'd like to just hang out with. He just has a ball on set."

In addition to "Real Steel," Macocha plays a prominent extra role as a student in the film "Mooz-Lum," which was just released Feb. 11 in select theaters.

Shot in Ann Arbor, the film stars Danny Glover and deals with the prejudices against the Islamic religion following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

Macocha also has a small extra role as a student in the movie "Conviction," which stars Hillary Swank and Minnie Driver, and was released last October.

When he's not in front of the camera, Macocha enjoys working behind the scenes.

"I hate to sound cliche, but I find the whole movie-making process magical," he said.

He spent some time as a production assistant for "Transformers 3," part of which was filmed in Detroit last year.

His work there including guarding and preparing the sets, making sure everything was in place for filming.

"It was really interesting to see all the special effects come together and watch everything we helped put together blow up," he said.

All these experiences have definitely heightened Macocha's desire to pursue a film career.

He noted he's "always looking for work" and is "willing to take on any gig."

To learn more about Macocha or to contact him, visit

Until he gets his big break in the movies, Macocha intends to continue pursuing his bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering followed by a master's degree in a field such as electrical engineering or management.

"Film is what I love to do and engineering is what I will do in the meantime," he said.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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