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REEL LIFE / FILM & VIDEO FILE : Only a Dad Could Love Some of the Roles Kids Get : The mind boggles at the parts written for child actors these days, but one promotion-minded father pushes the P.R. lever for all it's worth anyway.

March 09, 1995|PANCHO DOLL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

As Brian Wagner's dad puts it in his homemade press release, the movie business has given his son some roles only a father could love.

The 12-year-old actor had to dress up like a girl for "Camp Nowhere," a 1994 summer film about youngsters who create their own summer camp. Fortunately for Brian, the part was brief and so was the film's stay in the theaters.

More enduring but less endearing was his role in the low-budget, Nintendo-generation favorite "3 Ninjas Kick Back." He plays Gerald, a catcher with a case of flatulence. Evidently sound effects weren't in the film's budget and Brian had to, er, perform on cue.

"The part was great," the Camarillo youth said, "even though I had to eat lots of beans."

He did the scene in one take. What can you say? The kid's a pro.

You can check him out in the soon-to-be-released "Little Panda," a Warner Bros. father-son movie about the endangered Chinese animals. Brian has a supporting role as the best friend of star Ryan Slater.

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The Edwards Camarillo Palace 12 should know shortly if it can add more matinees to its schedule.

Currently, the theater shows only five matinees between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays. City engineers fear that movies on all 12 screens would make congestion worse at the already overburdened Carmen Road exit.

Camarillo traffic engineer Tom Fox said owners agreed to the limits before they built the multiplex. Fox said a consultant is studying whether limits could be eased. The results should be completed in a month.

That's none too soon for Beth Bergard, a mother of three from Oxnard, who was trying to control her unruly kids during a shopping trip to the newly opened Camarillo Factory Stores next door.

"I think it would be great if I could drop (the kids) off at a matinee while I do some shopping," she said. "It would be easier for all of us."

Regardless of what the study finds, all restrictions on matinees will end when road improvements are completed in the middle of 1996, officials said.

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Local boosters gathered at a Burbank trade show this week to promote their home turfs as potential movie locations. The record number of exhibitors at "Locations 95" could grow even larger next year if a couple of plans to launch film commissions in Ventura County take root.

Moorpark officials are weighing the possibility, and so are county leaders, who want to launch a countywide commission. As it stands, the only city with a film commissioner is Fillmore.

John McKinnon, Fillmore's commissioner, said that since the picturesque city concentrated on attracting producers four years ago, the number of projects shot there quadrupled to 20 in 1994.

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