FARGO — It was sometime in the late 1980s that Elizabeth Schwankl appeared in her first TV commercial. Back then, she played a mom talking about the importance of wearing seat belts.
Now, the Fargo artist is an extra in the feature film, "Tankhouse," a movie about a couple exiled from the New York City theater industry who decide to come to Fargo.
Schwankl landed principal roles in more than a dozen commercials over the years, but she's never been in a movie. When she read about "Tankhouse" looking for extras, she thought it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
She was on set Monday, Sept. 23, outside The Forum building, 101 5th St. N., taking a photo with actor Richard Kind, a Tony nominee. Kind starred in the movie "Argo," and his voice was featured in "Toy Story 3," "Cars" and "A Bug's Life."
"Tankhouse" features other big names, like Christopher Lloyd, aka Doc Brown from "Back to the Future," as well as Joe Adler, Tara Holt and Stephen Friedrich. The film also gives nods to local people and places.
Paisley LeBaron, a seventh-grader at Watford City High School, made her acting debut Monday in a farmers market scene for the film. LeBaron's craft business, Paisley's Treasures, was one of the vendors in the scene.
"Last week we were just talking about how cool it would be if we were in a movie, and then a week later we heard about it, and we're like . . . 'Is this true?'" she said to her mom, Chelsea. "When you're watching the movie and you're filming it, it's two very different things. Like 'cut,' and you do it again and again, and it's really fun."
The cast and crew were on set from 6 a.m. to shortly after noon Monday before heading to a farm south of Fargo for the rest of the day.
"It's just a great group of people. I see everybody enjoying each other and themselves," Schwankl said as a group of actors danced to "Funkytown" in between filming.
"Tankhouse" will be shooting at the Fargo Theatre on Tuesday, Sept. 24. The movie is being produced by Los Angeles-based Momentum Studios and Click Content Studios, a video production company owned by Fargo-based Forum Communications Co., which owns The Forum newspaper.