Past Fresno State athlete scores in 'Dodgeball'
By Rick Bentley
The Fresno Bee
(Friday, June 18, 2004)
Brandon Molale and his fellow actors from the feature film "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" had to go to school before the cameras started rolling. They went to dodgeball school.
"It was a three-day school put on by the director [Rawson Marshall Thurber] and Alex Daniels, the movie's stunt coordinator," says Molale, a former California State University, Fresno football player.
The school was to help the 6-foot-5-inch Molale play Blazer, a goliath member of the dodgeball team put together by Ben Stiller's White Goodman.
The highlight of the light comedy has the muscle-bound players battle the muscle-challenged members of the team put together by Vince Vaughn's Peter LaFleur. For three days, the actors played dodgeball. The 32-year-old Molale played the sport when he was in high school. He remembered the rules. Molale had forgotten how tiring throwing bright red spheres at other humans can be.
Despite the fatigue factor, Molale loved the experience of the school and the filming.
Along with his appearance in "Dodgeball," he recently worked on "The Ladykillers," "Cheaper by the Dozen," "The Rundown" and "The Hulk." His past work has included roles in "Mr. Deeds" and "Master of Disguise."
Molale also worked on the Tom Cruise movie "Collateral," scheduled to be released in August.
Molale wasn't planning on being an actor back in the early 1990s while he was living in Fresno.
The native of Potacello, Idaho, came to the central San Joaquin Valley to play football at Fresno State.
His days as a Bulldogs guard were cut short by a knee injury. In 1992, as a sophomore, Molale participated in one play for the Bulldogs against Oregon State. The next week, he was scheduled to start, but he blew out his knee in practice. His playing days were limited to being on the second team during his junior year.
After college, Molale played for the Fresno Bandits semi-pro team in 1996 and 1997 . He liked playing tight end so much that he began to think he might be able to make a move into the pros. A broken foot in 1997 ended that idea, though.
Molale also studied theater while at Fresno State. That would be the launching platform for his current career in Los Angeles.
"I have been blessed to be able to be an actor and stuntman since I moved down here. I have been able to support myself and make a living," Molale says.
When he is not working on a film, Molale makes good use of the advertising and marketing degree he earned at Fresno State. He knows that the product he has to push is himself. One huge way he does that is through his Web site at brandonmolale.com.
"Dodgeball" has given him the most exposure of any movie he has done. His image has been used as part of the advertising campaign for posters, billboards and even a cardboard stand-up that can be seen in local theaters.
Word is beginning to spread about the athlete turned actor. During the filming of the dodgeball sequences in November, Molale was recognized by the young extras hired to fill the stands.
"It was the coolest thing. All of these extras recognized me from my role in 'Mr. Deeds.' "
Those fans got to watch cameras roll as Molale and the other actors dodged, ducked and dived in front of the cameras. Molale, a professional stuntman, was impressed by how many of the stunts Stiller did.
"He has a stunt double, but most of the time it was Ben jumping on trampolines and landing on mats," Molale says. "That really impressed me. I told Ben that I have worked with a lot of A-list celebrities who would not be doing all of the stunts he was doing.
"Ben was out there diving, taking balls in the face."
The reporter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (559) 441-6355.