Diné who dreamed of acting cast as extra in ‘12 Strong’

By Rick Abasta
Special to the Times


Courtesy photo
On the set of “12 Strong,” Candace Quintana-Vialpando, left, and Evana Bennett, right.

From the time she was a young girl growing up in Fort Defiance, Evana Bennett said she was going to be a movie star one day. She has made those dreams come true.

Bennett was cast as an extra in background scenes for “12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers,” starring Chris Hemsworth. The movie was released on Jan. 19 and was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Nicolai Fulsig. The film is about U.S. Army Green Berets who rode horseback to battle the Taliban in Afghanistan shortly after 9-11.

Bennett played the part of an Afghan woman. She said the experience was a lot of fun. “I got to meet Chris Hemsworth,” she said. “He was really nice, a respectful kind of guy. ‘12 Strong’ was a big project and it was an honor to be a part of it. Everyone was super nice and awesome to work with.”

Much of the filming was in Sandia and Laguna. Hollywood is coming to New Mexico as evidenced by growing number of movie studios across Albuquerque. “Filming is everywhere,” Bennett said, adding that she has done acting and modeling gigs throughout the city. “There’s a lot of different studios.”

Landing a role on the TV series “Night Shift,” Bennett said she played the role of a surgeon and was cast because of her medical knowledge. Her degree in pharmacy was a plus and Bennett said she is months away from completing her second degree as a surgery technician. “My mom and dad really supported my acting dreams when I was younger, but they also wanted me to finish school and have something as a backup,” she said.

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Categories: Arts