Military ties lead to opportunities

Kristi Beckman and Patti Green both served in the United States Air Force for 20 years. Beckman served 21. It was their military ties that sparked an interest in acting, including leading to recent roles as extras in the movie “I Still Believe.” The movie was released in March and is now available on Netflix.
Both were in the movie with Green’s sons, Nathan and Ethan, and both still remember their initial leap into the acting business.
For Beckman, it started with a Pentagon skit she was in with former Saturday Night Live actor Seth Meyers.
“I was the escort for Seth and his team, and the writer needed an official-looking female officer to interrupt the secretary of defense and let him know the president needed to speak to him. The secretary told me he was busy with Pentagon stuff. I had to come up with the line and everything. It was a bit nerve-wracking but definitely fun.”
Green’s first taste of the movies came when a casting company in London was asking for military members to be background in “United 93,” a movie that chronicles the events aboard the Sept. 11 flight that was hijacked by terrorists but taken over by passengers in a heroic effort to regain control of it. It eventually crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, likely saving countless lives.
“That started it for me. I did four movies while stationed in England,” Green said. “I would say the most exciting project I did was Green Zone (starring Matt Damon). I went to Spain for three weeks to film. When I got home to my squadron, they were so excited for me, and kept telling me they wanted my autograph because one day I would be famous.”
The interesting thing is Green wanted to get into acting a long time ago. But her parents told her no and she joined the service.
A lot has changed since then, and she enjoyed the experience to be part of a movie with her best friend as well as her sons.
“I was so excited when I got the email inviting me to be involved. I was even more excited that I got a couple more emails and volunteered Kristi and my kids,” Green said.
Beckman echoed those thoughts.
“I loved the opportunity to do this with my best friend,” Beckman said. “She’s the one who convinced me to do this with her and she taught me how to be a good extra. The kids just loved it and it gave them a unique perspective on the movie business. It was a fun family affair.”
For Ethan and Nathan, it was their first time in a movie. Ethan is a Navarre graduate and Nathan is a junior at the high school.
Both said the long days of 12 hours or more on set was the biggest challenge but it was a worthwhile experience for them.
“It was really exciting seeing myself on screen. It was the first time I’ve been in an actual movie,” Ethan said. “If I get more opportunities, I would absolutely do it.”
Nathan was thrilled about the opportunity as well and enjoyed seeing the finished product.
“I think it was really cool because we were in a big grass field, right in front of the USS Alabama, but the way they edited it, it was like we were on a beach in California. It’s amazing how they can do that. For me, being (on the big screen) was definitely a different feeling. Words can’t truly describe it.”
COVID-19 cut the movie’s theater time short. Beckman and Green were able to see it in the theater with their spouses, but Nathan and Ethan ended up watching it at home on Netflix.
“It has been difficult to not see the movie get the airtime it deserves,” Beckman said. “It’s an incredible story that completely captures your heart the whole way through.”


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