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A local link fans ‘Love’ at the movies

Area theater screens debut of actor Massey, grandson of Gainesville family

POSTED: January 21, 2012 12:27 a.m.
/For The Times

Chandler Massey stars as Farrell Gambles in the movie "16-Love."

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Fans of Chandler Massey braved the rainy weather Friday night to watch his big-screen debut.

The movie "16-Love," staring Massey, premieres in select theaters across the country this weekend, including Hollywood 15 Stadium Cinemas in Gainesville.

The location couldn't be more appropriate as the tennis-themed romantic comedy has local ties.

Chandler Massey, who plays the role of talented tennis rookie "Farrell Gambles," is the grandson of Gainesville natives Abit and Kayanne Massey. He is a graduate of Norcross High School.

At his "day job," as he calls it, he plays Will Horton on the daytime drama "Days of Our Lives," a role that earned him a nomination for a daytime Emmy award in the Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series category. Massey has also appeared in episodes of television series "One Tree Hill" and "Army Wives."

Massey said he enjoyed shooting the movie on location. He said it felt like a vacation.

"It was my first time being in San Diego so that was fun. It was a great, positive experience," he said.

Massey grew up playing tennis and used his skills on the court to bring authenticity to his character, one he said he enjoyed playing.

"I like quite a bit about him. The thing I liked is he's a guy whose not afraid to stick his neck out there and go for it and fall flat on his face sometimes," Massey said.

But Massey isn't the only local talent involved with the movie. The screenplay was written by the wife of Gainesville native James Dunlap Jr., Leigh Dunlap, who also wrote "A Cinderella Story" staring Hillary Duff.

Dunlap said she always tries to name her characters after people she knows. For instance, she said she always uses the name "Farrell," an old family name and the name of her 14-year-old son.

"Much to my son's dismay," she said laughing.

Dunlap is currently working on a teen science fiction novel called "Halifax."

"Leigh is an amazingly talented person," Massey said.

Dunlap said she feels the same way about Massey. The part of Gambles was actually written with him in mind.

"I think we've only begun to see how talented he is. I'll be proud that someday this will be one of the millions of movies he does. I'm happy that my movie is his first movie," Dunlap said.

Amy White, who is a family friend of the Masseys, brought her daughters and a friend to see the movie.

"I saw that it was playing here and so I checked it out online, and I've got two tennis players here, so we thought it was perfect," White said.

Lauren White, 9, Lindsay White, 6, and Baylee Turner, 9, were all smiles walking out of the theater.

"I just liked the whole thing. All of it," Baylee said smiling.

The movie is about a 16-year-old tennis champ, Ally Mash, who twists her ankle and ends up helping rookie Gambles (Massey) become a champion as well while he teaches her how to be a regular teenager and how to love.



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