Escaped robber recaptured on film set

Stardom was a mistake for Jason Stange.

by Jennie Kermode

Everybody knows there can be a downside to fame, but for one Washington man, becoming an actor turned out to be a really bad idea. 44 year old Jason Stange, whose colleagues praised him as a rare talent, was arrested on Friday after police saw his picture in the local paper. He had spent the past year on the run after absconding when on day release from prison.

Stange, an amateur actor with big ambitions, was sentenced to over nine years in prison after pleading guilty to bank robbery in 2006. After eight years of good behaviour he was given a place on a work release programme, from which he then disappeared. When he heard about auditions for horror film Marla Mae, he decided to give it a try, assuming that the film wouldn't get much press attention. Filming was already complete when the Olympian newspaper expressed an interest, and Stange had already made the fateful decision to use his real name.

The film's director Lisa van Dam-Bates, who also has a small acting role in it, says Stange impressed her from the outset and was also really pleasant to work with. She re-wrote parts of it to give him more material and, though she stresses that she doesn't condone his crime, she intends to release the film complete with the scenes he appears in. The story centres on a woman trying to solve her boyfriend's murder while evading police who suspect her of the crime.

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