Cypress Ranch grad heeds stage call
Ross Bechtold's reputation as a leading man will precede him when he enters the University of Texas at San Antonio on Aug. 22.
The 2011 Cypress Ranch High School graduate was introduced to film fans in the Alamo City when the short film Send Me to Babylon was shown at the San Antonio International Film Festival in June. Bechtold played the main role.
"We all will be able to say, 'I knew him when …,'" predicted Jane Bankston, theater director at Cypress Ranch. "I can say going into my 30th year of teaching theater, there have been a handful of students with the "it" factor and Ross is one of them."
Bankston added, " 'Ross, remember me in that Oscar speech!' "
Bechtold was born in Houston but moved to Cypress when he was 12. "That's when I fell in love with acting," he said. "In eighth grade, I got the lead in Jolly Roger and the Pirate Queen, and it hit me. It was a really cool start."
In high school, Bechtold played John Proctor in The Crucible and Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird.
In Cy Ranch's entry in last year's University Interscholastic League one-act play competition, The Kentucky Cycle: Fire in the Hole, Bechtold said, "I played the bad guy." His performance as Andrew Winston won awards that culminated in all-star cast honors at the regional competition.
Fellow student Jeremiah James cast Bechtold as the leader of a pack of young men fighting zombies in Send Me to Babylon, which placed second in the film competition at this year's International Thespian Society state convention.
"He's a stupendous actor," said James, whose film also won an award at this year's 44th annual WorldFest in Houston and was screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.
The director's father, Tom James, added, "Ross fills any room he enters. He has a mature demeanor that makes him the de facto leader of any group in which he participates."
At 18, Bechtold is 6 feet, 2, weighs 185 pounds and has brown hair and green eyes.
He's represented by the Pastorini-Bosby Talent Agency in Bellaire, which lists billiards, martial arts and bowling among Bechtold's skills.
Bechtold said he worked backstage on Cy Ranch's musical Hairspray. "I wanted to see what it was like," he explained. "It was great to be on the other side, but I like being up on the apron with the lines!"
He said that UTSA doesn't have a theater department; so, he plans to stay only one year, taking required courses, before transferring to UT-Austin in the fall of 2012.
"In San Antonio, I hope to work with a film coach to keep my muscles warm, and maybe act in student films."
At UT-Austin, Bechtold said, "I hope to be doing a lot of stage work."
"I would love one day to do a remake of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Brad Pitt's part is a role I would love to play," he said.
Bankston added, "I fully expect him to be successful in the entertainment industry. Along with his talents, one of the most appealing qualities is his desire. You only speak to him shortly and you know he wants this."
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