Students earn place on BBC film set

Brennan Stebbins & Alexandra Nicolas

Two Missouri Southern students will be featured on BBC Television when the network films a Bonnie and Clyde documentary in Joplin.

Todd Manley, junior theatre major, will play Clyde’s older brother Buck Barrow. Brett Hecksher, junior theatre major, is cast as W.D. Jones.

“Really, it kind of gives me a little bit of hope,” Manley said. “You go through this and everyday you hear you have to have a master’s degree, or you have to be really lucky. Actors are a dime a dozen, literally.

“It’s great to see that in college we can get a part like this. It’s more motivational than anything.”

The BBC will film Sunday and Monday at the original apartment the infamous gangster duo rented in Joplin in 1933. Phillip McClendon, who has restored the interior to 1930s décor, owns the two-story apartment, located at 3347½ Oak Ridge Drive.

“They were here about a month ago and they’re coming do to a story on Sunday and Monday at the apartment,” McClendon said of the BBC. “They’ll do some filming off site, too. They’re going to have a car there, a 1932 Ford, and they’ll do some action scenes.”

The BBC will use the 60-minute documentary as part of its Timewatch history series, and is paying actors $300 per day for the two days of shooting.

Manley and Hecksher were cast on the basis of their resumes and headshots, and will have no lines in the documentary. The scenes will be set to historian voice-overs.

“You have to have some film work on your resume,” Manley said. “It’s one more step forward.”

The Joplin apartment received national attention in April 1933 when Bonnie and Clyde, along with Buck and Blanche Barrow and William Daniel Jones rented the apartment on the first of the month.

On April 13 when two lawmen showed up to serve a warrant, a shoot-out ensued that left both men dead and wounded members of the gang.

Bonnie and Clyde escaped, only to meet their end 13 months later.