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FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. — A Florida Panhandle airman briefly gets the spotlight in the film “Olympus Has Fallen.”
Michael Stallings is a technical sergeant at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida’s Panhandle. In the film, he portrays an Army lieutenant assigned to the personal security detail of a two-star general amid a terrorist attack on the White House.
Stallings told the Northwest Florida Daily News that his military training caught the eye of director Antoine Fuqua during filming in New Orleans.
Stallings was originally assigned to be a background extra. He said he had to show some of the other extras how to properly carry the weapons they were given as props.
“I kind of got lucky with it,” Stallings said. “I showed up on set and they asked, ‘Who knows how to drive a Humvee?’”
Fuqua pulled him aside to consult on a few scenes and then asked him to deliver the same lines on camera, Stallings said.
“I literally came up with my line on the fly,” Stallings said. “We did about 10 to 12 takes of it.”
The South Dakota native’s improvised lines made it to the film’s final cut. “Olympus Has Fallen” stars Morgan Freeman, Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart.
Stallings began studying acting in 2010 after he arrived at Eglin, where he works in the fuel shop.
“It’s been a passion of mine since I was a little kid,” he said. “I love the Air Force but I would love to pursue acting.”