ShareThis Page
Valley News Dispatch

East Deer boy, 12, to make acting debut in film about 1980s Youngstown

Chuck Biedka
| Monday, June 19, 2017, 12:21 a.m.
Ben Manchini, pictured in his East Deer home on Friday, June 16, 2017, will play the young version of the main character in “On the Arm,” a film scheduled to be released next year.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Ben Manchini, pictured in his East Deer home on Friday, June 16, 2017, will play the young version of the main character in “On the Arm,” a film scheduled to be released next year.
Ben Manchini, pictured in his East Deer home on Friday, June 16, 2017, will play the young version of the main character in “On the Arm.”
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Ben Manchini, pictured in his East Deer home on Friday, June 16, 2017, will play the young version of the main character in “On the Arm.”

Benjamin Manchini and his East Deer buddies play basketball, video games and make their own action videos.

Today, Benjamin gets a real screen call when he films scenes for a new movie.

An independent producer cast Benjamin in the role of a younger version of the movie's main character.

The 12-year-old son of John and Angela Manchini, Benjamin has the looks wanted for the feature movie “On the Arm.”

It's about a turbluent 1980s when Youngstown, Ohio, still was “Crimetown USA,” complete with warring mobsters from Pittsburgh and Cleveland, the FBI, and informants.

Benjamin will play crime boss Louis Sareno's associate Jeffrey Torin as a boy.

Talent agent Terry Berceli of Ems­worth said Benjamin has “big eyes and is a heartfelt actor. He also looks like a young Elvis.”

Producer-director-writer Seth Bolyard said Benjamin was selected from taped interviews from about 20 kids.

“He really stood out. He is a polished actor and he looks like actor Chris Lazzaro,” said Bolyard, who was on his way from Tampa on Friday to begin shooting the movie Sunday.

Benjamin's scene comes early in the movie.

It's quite a step for Benjamin, who will enter the seventh grade at Deer Lakes Middle School this fall.

“I've thought about being a doctor, but the more I think about it, acting is interesting me,” he said.

“I'm excited for him and he is excited to do it,” said John Manchini, East Deer's police chief.

The actor's cheering section of mom, sisters Gigi and Noelle and cousin Addie Evans of Harrison helped him rehearse for the tryout video sent through YouTube.

“This is so super for Benny,” Noelle Manchini said.

Bolyard said the youngster is a good fit and he is ready to get going with the major project.

“It's an independent film version of the ‘Goodfellas' movie, the mob in Youngstown, the FBI, people going to prison and a guy trying to get out of the mob,” Bolyard said.

“We are putting everything into it. My wife and I cashed in our retirement. We really believe in it,” said Bolyard, who once attended the school where Benjamin will act Monday.

The mob movie focuses on Sareno and Torin, who will be portrayed by Lazzaro.

Viewers may remember Lazzaro from guest roles on “The Perfect Murder” series on Investigation Discovery, “Blue Bloods” on CBS and the NBC soap opera “Days of Our Lives.”

Bolyard said Lazzaro has recently completed three feature films that are in post-production.

“On the Arm” is due to be released in the spring of 2018.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4711 or cbiedka@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ChuckBiedka.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me