WLM WLM Spring 2015 - Page 29

WLM | arts Shawn Michael PERRY By Kati Hime Images by Nancy Smith & Neda Atash Photography as noted The seeds of Shawn’s future in music were planted during his childhood in Casper. “My father loved country music and would not let any rock ‘n roll in the house,” Shawn explains. “I bought a Sam Cooke Live album from Peaches Music in Casper, and after listening, I knew I wanted to perform as a singer/entertainer.” Shawn was influenced by long-time Casper families that taught him valuable lessons. “I want to thank the Sandoval, Servantez, Costalez, Lara, Lujan and Aguilar families for showing me their love of music, food, culture and a strong work ethic that I carry with me to this day.” Shawn attended both Natrona County and Kelly Walsh High Schools, leaving to work in the oil fields. Later he attended Trapper Creek Job Corps in Darby, Montana in 1983, and Hellgate High School in Missoula, receiving his high school diploma in 1985. “When I was in high school and college in Missoula I studied music and drama. My good friend Steve Reevis, a Blackfoot Indian, convinced me to go to Hollywood in 1990 to get into show business.” Shawn enrolled in the Musicians Institute in Hollywood in 1991, graduating with honors in the vocal program. With some friends, Shawn formed a heavy metal band, Sovereign Reign, which was voted Best Band of the Year at the school. The move to Hollywood also brought Shawn new opportunities. “One day I was walking up Hollywood Boulevard, and an American Indian woman, Casey Camp-Horinek, saw me and asked if I was American Indian. I said yes, and she asked, ‘I’m working on casting for a film called Last of the Mohicans – would you like to try out?’” Quickly Shawn said yes – three callbacks later, the Casting Director, Bonnie Timmerman, told him that he wasn’t tall enough. Fortunately for Shawn, the stunt coordinator came out of his office, asking about Shawn’s note on his resume of being in gymnastics in high school. He offered Shawn a stunt position in the film, which he gladly accepted. “I worked on that film for six months – it was an awesome experience! I went to the premier at the Chinese Theater and was one of two American Indians that attended, the other being Russell Means.” Shawn’s career in acting has also included roles on Murder She Wrote in 1994 (the “Northern Explosion” episode, playing Bill Nahanee), and extra roles in movies such as Forrest Gump. Three years after his Last of the Mohicans experience, Shawn had the opportunity to work opposite Patrick Stewart on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Stewart had come by the Last of the Mohicans casting office the day Shawn was offered the stunt position, sharing that he had been asked to play the role of the English colonel, but that he planned to decline the opportunity. Stewart was casting the Star Trek episode that Shawn tried out for, www.wyolifestyle.com 29