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At just twenty five, Brad Hawkins has had lightning strike twice. First he had a major record label deal in 1998 that yielded two singles and hit videos on CMT. He toured with groups like The Dixie Chicks and Alabama until a call from a casting agent sent the Plano Texas native winging to Los Angeles where he landed bit parts in Walker Texas Ranger and VR Troopers.

By then the music deal had quieted down and more trips back and forth from Texas to Hollywood for casting calls were depleting Hawkin's resources.

"I said to myself this is the last trip I can afford to take and then I'm back in Texas permanently to work on my music." Hawkins says.

In the proverbial last ditch effort fashion, Hawkins casting call landed him the lead role in a whopper of a part - a four hour CBS mini series called "Shake Rattle & Roll (An American Love Story)" that traces a couples relationship against the social, musical and political upheaval of the American South from 1955 to 1963.

"It's an amazing part," Hawkins says from the North Carolina set of the film. "They have artists like BB King doing cameo roles and Bob Dylan and Sheryl Crow wrote original songs for the soundtrack. I was cast for my music background but I unfortunately don't get to do any singing in the film. That'll be someone elses voice you hear."

Still, it's Hawkins all over the film, even if the blonde haired blue eyed singer/actor has a slightly greasier look than usual.

"Yeah they dyed my hair and slicked it back and I've got these sideburns," he laughs. "My friends have visited the set and hardly recognize me."

As far as a personal life these days, Hawkins doesn't really have one.

"When this kind of work comes along it's great, but it takes precedence over everything. I've been living in hotels and trailers for weeks. Everything I own is in a storage shed in Texas. I'd like to get it out of there and stay in Texas when this is done, but there are already more film and music offers on the table and I don't know where they'll take me. I grew up there, I know the streets and the people, it's home ya know? But this career is pretty exciting and I don't want to have any regrets about not trying my hardest."

Shake Rattle & Roll the soundtrack will be released in October while the film premieres in November on CBS.

--Sandra Schulman

Brad Hawkins Film
Shake, Rattle & Roll

release date--Nov. 7, 1999 / Issue 1 - September 3104
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