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Sydney Spies lands film role

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald file photo

$PHOTOCREDIT_ON$Sydney Spies, center, has landed a small role in an upcoming SyFy channel movie titled “American Horror House.” It is set for a Halloween release. Spies, and her mother, Miki Spies, right, in January protested a decision by Durango High School administrators to disallow a photo she provided for the school yearbook that student editors viewed as inappropriate. At left is Alayna Woomer.$PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$

By Chase Olivarius-Mcallister , Emery Cowan Herald staff writers

The former Durango High School student who rocketed to national fame over a yearbook photo debacle has landed a part in a new horror film.

Sydney Spies will play the small role of “Missy” in an upcoming SyFy channel movie titled “American Horror House.”

On the Internet Movie Database, Spies has 11th billing.

Though the Huffington Post reported Spies’ casting this week, Spies first announced her good news in April.

“It’s a small role, but I’m excited for the opportunity!” said Spies, writing on her Facebook page.

So far, 165 people have “liked” Spies’ post.

The prospect of a local girl making it big in Hollywood excited Spies’ supporters.

Gabe Gonzales commented: “That’s awesome Sydney! ... This is a great opportunity for you and a great way to start. I always knew you would make it onto television shows and movies. Congratulations!”

Others were less supportive, comparing Spies to performers in adult films.

The movie, which stars Alessandra Torresani and Morgan Fairchild – according to an IMDB entry – is scheduled to air on Halloween.

Darin Scott, who previously helmed “Dark Horse” directed. Filming will take place this summer in Baton Rouge, La.

Spies first made headlines in January by protesting the omission of a photo she submitted for the high school yearbook after student editors deemed it too racy.

Spies’ photo shows her wearing a short yellow skirt with a black shawl that exposes her shoulders and midsection.

The Durango Herald story garnered more than 1 million hits online. Within days, it was picked up by London’s Daily Mail, the Huffington Post, ABC News and Denver news stations.

The media storm culminated in Spies and her mother, Miki Spies, traveling to New York City to be featured on the “Today Show,” where Spies called the photo “artistic.”

Alexandra Finegersh of Miller PR, a major public relations firm, said Spies’ initial brush with ignominy, though an unusual way to launch oneself in public, was by no means uncongenial to a successful acting career.

“Her media interviews around the issue did not particularly showcase her as an actress, but they did bring attention to her name. In essence, this news story served as a small launching pad because it gave her some notoriety,” said Finegersh.

Finegersh said the scandal might have “helped her land the role because now some media outlets will pick up the story and SyFy gets free publicity by signing her onto the project.”

But Finegersh said Spies’ start in showbiz is not without downsides.

“To be honest, her photo scandal might make it difficult for her to be taken seriously in larger roles. While it is commendable that she has landed a small role ... once you break into the media with a scandalous, sensationalized story, it is more difficult to separate yourself from the overhyped news of the week,” Finegersh said.

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