Maine’s reputation as a remote state full of hardy people who hunt, fish or both — and may have funny accents to boot — is proving a boon to Mainers dreaming of reality TV stardom.
Just this year, a crew filmed at the Sebago Lake Ice Fishing Derby for a National Geographic Channel show, there was a casting call at the State of Maine Sportsman’s Show for an outdoorswoman to host a series, and Al Roker Entertainment has announced it’s seeking Maine lobstermen for a potential show.
Now producers are coming to Maine to cast a show that Fox is billing as a “bold new social experiment.” Based on a show by the same name from the Netherlands, “Utopia” will task 15 people with creating their own community from scratch, based on their own ideas of how the world should run.
The show is casting nationwide and from all walks of life, but casting producer Jackie Topacio said the creators were drawn to Maine because of the prospect of finding people with skills that could be useful in the new community, such as fishermen, hunters, veterinarians or blacksmiths.
Producers from the Conlin Co. will be in Maine from April 29 to May 2 and would like to set up meetings in advance. To audition, go to utopiatvcasting.comto fill out an application and upload a video. Participants must be 21 or older and available for filming for about one year starting in late summer or early fall.
Supervising casting producer Kristin Curtin said the company normally would not cast in Maine, preferring instead big cities such as New York, Los Angeles or Chicago because of the large pool of potential participants.
In this case, however, survival and outdoors skills will come in handy when the participants are given some rudimentary supplies and left in an isolated location to create their community.
“Anyone could potentially be a good fit for it as long as they have the skills and ideas to contribute to Utopia,” Curtin said.
The show will air as it is filmed, Curtin said, and will feature interactive components, with footage streaming online 24 hours a day. In the Dutch version of the show, the “pioneers” can be voted out, but Curtin said that might or might not take place on the American show.
In addition to useful skills, Curtin said, the cast members will be chosen for having strong opinions about their ideal society.
“We’re looking for people who have strong beliefs and ideas who know what they want in their ideal world, someone who thinks outside the box,” she said. “This is their chance to express and realize those ideas, so we really want revolutionaries.”