With his acting training barely begun, West Virginia University theater student Christopher Mahoney, class of 2014, has already completed a role in a major film called “Abduction.”

The film is an action-thriller directed by John Singleton, who wrote and directed 1991’s “Boyz n the Hood,” and starring Taylor Lautner of the “Twilight” sagas. The film opens nationwide on Friday, Sept. 23.

Most of the scenes were shot in and around Pittsburgh. Mahoney attended the opening of the film in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Sept. 22.

“I’m very excited to see myself on the big screen for the first time,” he said.

“Abduction” is about a young man (Lautner) who discovers that the people who raised him aren’t his real parents—a revelation that thrusts him into the world of covert espionage and leaves him running for his life. It also features Lily Collins, Alfred Molina, Jason Isaacs and Sigourney Weaver.

Mahoney, a native of East Meadow, N.Y., in Nassau county, Long Island, plays the caretaker of a graveyard in the film and completed his scenes exactly a week before his classes at WVU started last fall prior to his freshman year.

“My dad works in the head office for the I.A.T.S.E., which is the labor union for workers behind the scenes in movies, television and professional theater,” Mahoney said. “His friend, the producer Anthony Katagas, called him one day to catch up and Dad told him that he and I were heading down to WVU for orientation.

“Katagas found out I was studying acting and that I had received the Fine Arts Scholarship from WVU. With that, he asked if I’d like to audition for a role in a project he was working on called ‘Abduction,’ and I agreed. Two weeks after my audition, the production office called and offered me the role of The Caretaker.”

Chris became involved in theater during high school after a knee injury stopped him from playing football during his sophomore year. He says that acting makes him laugh.

“I’ve been around sets my whole life, because of my dad, so I tried out for the school play my junior year and I got one of the lead roles,” he said. “It was the musical ‘Anything Goes,’ by Cole Porter and I played the English Gentleman Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, which was a role made for me because I do some rather good English and Irish accents.

“When it came time to look for colleges, I looked at WVU because my cousin Kevin Hughes went there, graduating with a business degree, and the WVU Theatre program was very appealing to me,” he said. 

During his freshman year at WVU, Chris especially enjoyed being involved in “Play in a Day,” which is a period of 24 hours in which students write, produce and perform original 5-10 minute scenes.

“I played a hipster who wanted to become a super hero and save the environment because all the polar bears were dying off due to the ice caps melting,” he laughed.

He also enjoyed his work in “Abduction,” where he was in a scene with Taylor Lautner, and most of his dialogue was with Lily Collins, a rising young actress who is the daughter of singer Phil Collins.

“The principal photography, along with my scene, was in Pittsburgh,” Mahoney said. “I arrived on the set at 6:30 a.m. and had hair and makeup around 10:30, then we shot the scene at 12:30 p.m. I left about 4:30 p.m., so I was on set for about 10 hours. 

“The caretaker is a regular guy who works at a graveyard and gives Nathan (Lautner) and Karen (Collins) a big clue about where they need to go next,” he said.

“When I first got on the set, I sat in a temp trailer with some other people, but a pull-down wall was dividing us, because they were extras and I was in an actual role. But I didn’t like that, so I lifted the wall and had a conversation with them.

“It was funny because they thought I was some well-known actor because I had a speaking role and they were all anxious, while I was just hanging out talking to them about regular things like where they went to school and where they were from,” he laughed.  

Mahoney’s future plans, after completing his acting degree at WVU, are to stay in New York and try to get more work in movies or television. And if that doesn’t work out, he says he will move to L.A. and try his luck there.

“Abduction” is a Lionsgate film and opens worldwide on Sept. 23.

For more information, see: www.abductionthefilm.com.

-WVU-

CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts
304-293-4359, Charlene.Lattea@mail.wvu.edu

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.