The Chickasaw Nation is working to cast actors in a movie to preserve the history of one of the nation’s greatest storytellers.
The film follows the life of Mary Frances Thompson (1895-1995) as she becomes more famously known by her stage name Te Ata.
Te Ata was a storyteller and actress in the 1900s. She traveled the globe telling traditional Chickasaw stories.
Te Ata’s talents took her around the world to meet a variety of people, including the queen of England.
She was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1958, was declared Oklahoma’s first “State Treasure” in 1987, received the Oklahoma Governor’s Arts Award in 1975 and was named Woman of the Year by Ladies’ Home Journal in 1976.
One Durant man auditioned for a part in the movie, also titled “Te Ata.” Al Gilbert, founder of the Born Again fellowship group, tried out for the role of Willie Watts.
Watts is the gruff, rude manager of a traveling show that Te Ata almost works for, called “Willie Watts Authentic Re-Creation of Custer’s Last Stand.”
Though Gilbert does not yet know if he will be cast, he also spent time with producer Paul Sirmons to help search Oklahoma talent for the film.
They put together a database of Oklahoma talent for voice-overs, singing and acting. While the film is still in its casting phase, filming is set to begin in the coming weeks in Sulphur.
- Jessica Breger can be reached at (580) 634-2162 or on Twitter @jbreger_news.