Locals turn out for Jackson video auditions | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Locals turn out for Jackson video auditions

Charles Levinson, Tribune News Service

TAHOE VISTA – Shooting for a Michael Jackson video began Wednesday at the top of the Cable Car at Squaw Valley USA with an estimated 300 residents working as extras.

The song has not been released, but the video is titled “Hands Across America.” The video will be shot at Squaw Valley, Sacramento and at various locations in the Bay area, according to Nancy Hayes of Nancy Hayes Casting, the agency hired to cast the video.

“It’s a bunch of people holding hands and singing a new song,” Hayes said.

Open auditions were held Sept. 28 and Sept. 29 at the Tahoe City Inn. Jeff Yurfest, 24, one of the many who auditioned, said the casting crew had him and a friend hold hands and sing a few bars of “We Are the World” in front of a camera. Yurfest could not restrain his enthusiasm about the possibility of being in a Michael Jackson video.

“I have two older sisters, so Michael Jackson was a big deal in my family,” Yurfest said. “We went as a family to see Michael Jackson in concert for the ‘Bad’ tour.”

Unfortunately, Yurfest did not make the cut. The reason: they needed more singers. Of the 300 extras involved, they need 50 singers, according to Hayes.

Los Angeles-based Palomar Pictures is producing the video. The company was tight lipped when it came to answering questions about Jackson’s video.

“I don’t think we want anyone knowing about this,” a spokeswoman said, “because it’s Michael Jackson and that’s just the way it is.”

No one had told Palomar about the yellow fliers circulated across North Tahoe by the casting company announcing auditions for the video.

“Want to be in Michael Jackson video?” read the flier in bold type across the top of the page.

Squaw Valley ran its Funitel and Emigrant chair lift to accommodate cast and crew. The Cable Car remained open to the public although access to the shoot was limited. Press was not allowed.

“That’s Hollywood for you,” said Squaw Valley spokeswoman Katja Dahl. “They’re paying us a lot of money to use the mountain and the facilities and they don’t want anyone up there.”

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