Local women recall parts in film

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom Newspapers

When Allison Draper and her Melrose basketball teammates would hit the floor at the Farwell Invitational every December, she would never look forward to seeing Hailey Richey and her Farwell Lady Blue teammates.

The two were enemies until they were united on the basketball court as fictional teammates in “Believe in Me.” After a few months of filming, friendship crossed the line of fiction.

“We stuck together like glue,” said Draper (formerly Cochran), a 2004 Melrose High graduate and now a volleyball coach at Floyd. “During the movie, if you saw one of us, the other wasn’t far behind.”

It wasn’t the only friendship created during the three months of filming, said Richey (formerly Grimes, a 2004 graduate of Farwell High).

“We all got attached to each other,” said Richey, who plays Susan Grove. “It felt like a family and that’s how the team feels toward each other.”

Like any good team, Draper said, the members balanced out each other’s shortcomings.

“Some of the actresses never played before, so they didn’t know any of the rules. There were two or three who had never played in their lives.”

Draper, who played Ruth Farrity, helped them learn to play basketball, and the actresses taught her how to cry on cue.

“They told us to think of a very sad part in your life,” she said with a nervous laugh. “It worked.”

Now, a sad part of Draper’s life is not getting to see the cast she’d worked with for three months. She and Richey flew to Los Angeles together to visit some of them, and seeing the movie will bring back memories.

Richey saw herself in the trailer for “Believe in Me” on television recently, and said it was “the coolest thing in the world” — a feat that was topped Monday, when Richey gave birth to her daughter Landri.

With the showing in Clovis, it’s lining up to be quite the week for Richey to culminate her experience.

“It was the greatest. It was so much fun,” Richey said. “How many people can say that they’re in a movie?”