Tom Partain, a resident of Amarillo, has spent some significant time in the Oval Office. But not in the one you think of in Washington, D.C.
In the new movie “First Lady,” coming to theaters Friday nationwide, including the Regal United Artists Amarillo Star IMAX & RPX in Amarillo, Partain plays Pete, the chief of staff to the President of the United States.
According to a news release, the film follows Kate Morales after her husband, President Alex Morales, dies in office, after she decides to help his vice president, Taylor Brooks, run for president as his First Lady. This romantic comedy stars Nancy Stafford, of “Matlock” fame, Corbin Bernsen from the television show “L.A. Law” and Stacey Dash from the movie “Clueless.”
Partain has always had a passion for acting, he said. Growing up in a small town in northeast Oklahoma, he led productions at church as well as at school.
Partain came to Amarillo after going to college and being a cavalry scout for the U.S. Army. He said he walked into the office of Anderson Model & Talent Agency in 2001 and his life changed from there, booking commercials and independent films. Partain has been a part of productions including “Too Many Crocketts,” “Vindication” as well as an upcoming limited series on FX called “A Teacher,” starring Kate Mara.
After participating in a scene study group remotely with his acting coach, Lee Peterson, and other actors in the Dallas area, Partain said he, along with members of that group, got the chance to be a part of the production as the President’s staff.
“Like any profession, your skill set improves with the quality of people that you work with,” he said. “It was an opportunity to work with a higher quality level of people both in front of and behind the camera… The chance to be able to get to work with and physically be around the people that I do stuff with was very nice.”
What stood out to Partain about the script was how funny it was, for an all-ages audience, he said.
“You can take your three-year-old daughter or your 80-year-old grandpa to this movie,” he said. “That got me excited.”
The scenes in the Oval Office were shot in Longview, where a resident had a replica, 85 percent the size of the real office in Washington D.C., in his house, Partain said. The entire staff of the President consisted of actors from the state of Texas.
During the film’s opening weekend, members of the cast are going around the state for a “Presidential Tour,” meeting movie-goers and taking pictures and signing autographs. This event will be prior to the 7 p.m. screening of the film Saturday at the United Artists theater, located at 8275 Amarillo Blvd West.
Partain said he is lucky to be able to be a part of a production like this.
“They make so many films that go straight to DVD or go to streaming services,” he said. “This one is going to theaters, and not just a handful of theaters. It’s going nationally. The number of actors who get an opportunity to do that is so small and to have a good role in one, at a professional level, is astounding. It’s humbling.”
“First Lady” gives the whole family the chance to have a memorable night at the movie theater together, Partain said.
“It’s an opportunity for people to have a laugh, watch a film that is family-friendly,” Partain said. “I think it is so rare to have a film now that everybody can watch, and you don’t have to worry about covering little ears or boring the adults to death with a kids’ show. It’s something I don’t have to apologize for being in.”
The film is rated PG for some thematic elements. Screenings of “First Lady” will continue, at least, through Feb. 20 in Amarillo. Check https://www.regmovies.com/theatres/regal-ua-amarillo-star-imax-rpx/1327#/buy-tickets-by-cinema?in-cinema=1327&at=2020-02-13&view-mode=list for current showtimes. For more information about the film, visit https://www.firstladymovie.com.