Heather Campbell never envisioned her twin sons appearing in a major Hollywood motion picture —especially not before their first birthday.
Then came a chance email from a friend in July 2011. Tracey Augustin was cast as an extra during a robbery scene in Derek Cianfrance's film, "The Place Beyond the Pines."
Cianfrance asked people at the scene whether they knew anyone with 6-month-old twin boys after the shoot, and Augustin thought of the Campbells.
Apparently the movie was moving along quicker than anticipated and the casting agency figured it would be easier to find a local pair of infants than to bring up the so-called professional ones that were originally envisioned for the part.
Heather didn't know what the movie would entail, but figured it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After consulting with her husband, she agreed to bring the fraternal twins —Trevor and Travis — down to a scene shot at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady.
"I said it can't hurt," she recalled.
Trevor was a bit shy around strangers, but Travis seemed to love attention. Both seemed to fit right into the role of Baby A.J., the infant son of Avery Cross, a wounded Schenectady Police officer played by Bradley Cooper.
The quieter Travis ultimately got the nod to play in a scene alongside Cooper and Rose Byrne, who was cast as his wife in the film. His first few takes were so seamless that even Cianfrance was left impressed.
"He came out and said he's doing really well, is this his first job?" she recalled. "I said yes, he's only six months old."
Travis and Trevor would go on to shoot scenes at a home off Eastern Parkway, a residence in the GE Realty Plot and at City Hall over the course of a week. Travis was the main actor during the shoots, but Trevor filled in whenever the tyke would get a little cranky.
"He was a stunt double," she quipped during an interview at her home in Charlton.
Campbell was amazed by how the Hollywood film stars always seemed to keep her young sons as a first priority among the hectic film shoots. If the children seemed distressed in any way, Cianfrance was quick to take corrective action or call for a break.
"It was a really great experience," she said. "The director was amazing."
Then came the waiting. Though filming wrapped up in September 2011, it would be nearly a year before anyone would get a shot of the finished product.
There was more waiting even after "The Pines" debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall. Then in December, a two-minute trailer for the film was released, including brief glimpses of the twins —proof that their scenes didn't end up on the cutting room floor.
"I was in tears," the proud mother said. "I was like 'my goodness, is it really them?’ "
The boys are listed among the 60-plus actors in the film credits. Their names even appear before other noted actors, such as Ray Liotta and Emory Cohen.
The twins are now 2 years old and have grown considerably since their first acting gig. Ironically, Trevor is now the outgoing one among the two.
Of course, neither seems to grasp that they'll soon be appearing on screens across the globe. They do, however, seem to recall the actor who they appeared with during the film shoot.
Every time they hear Cooper's voice on the television, they seem to gravitate toward it, Campbell said. And while they may never become Hollywood actors, they still have an affinity for cameras.
"One more picture," Trevor called out to a Gazette photographer.