Aundre Dean is keenly aware of the irony involved how Texas made his latest California adventure a reality.
When he left Katy, he went to UCLA to attend college and to play football. He transferred to TCU to finish both.
When he left TCU in 2013, he went to Hollywood to pursue his career as an actor. To land his first big role he had to go back to Texas.
Dean’s first big break in Hollywood came after he landed a part in the new movie “Carter High”, which chronicles the 1988 Dallas Carter Cowboys football team that won the state title. “Carter High,” which was produced by former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Ellis, opens this week in Dallas and Houston.
Before Dean headed to the red-carpet event and premiere of the movie in Dallas on Tuesday night, Dean spoke with me over the phone.
When Dean was asked to audition, it was not down the street from his L.A. apartment. He had to finance the trip to North Texas from L.A. with zero guarantee that he would land the paying-gig. He put the trip on his credit card.
“They had told me they knew I could act but they wanted to see if I could play this one part,” he said.
He was given the role as former Carter High linebacker Derric Evans, one of the talented players that should have continued his career after high school. Instead, he was involved in armed robberies and landed in prison.
In Texas, Carter High is famous as arguably the most talented, and controversial, team in the state’s history. Nationally, Carter High is famous as the team that defeated the school from “Friday Night Lights.”
“I was born in 1989, but when I saw the movie, ‘Friday Night Lights’ I wanted to know who the guys that beat (Odessa Permian),” said Dean, who is from Houston and played at Katy. “That was when I did some research and I learned about this team.”
That Carter team was loaded with Division I signees, and future pros. Miami Hurricanes linebacker Jessie Armstead was on this team, as was Baylor linebacker Le’Shai Maston.
Derric Evans had originally signed with the University of Tennessee and gained national fame when he signed his letter of intent while sitting in a hot tub.
Two years after becoming the first Dallas ISD team to win a state championship in football since 1950, the Texas University Interscholastic League stripped the title because it used an ineligible player.
“I talked to Derric Evans and I got to know him and a lot of those guys from that time and that team,” Dean said. “I am really excited for the guys and the people around Dallas. The point of the movie is that everybody makes mistakes, and you have to be willing to deal with the consequences. The message of the movie is so strong – that one mistake can mess up your whole life.”
Dean is no different than any other young actor in Hollywood - he is hustling, busting his butt hoping to land the role that will make him secure in the place he has obviously always wanted to live since he left high school.