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Sean Astin coming to Gasparilla film festival

Sean Astin as Hobbit Samwise Gamgee, companion to Frodo (Elijah Wood) in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
New Line Productions
Sean Astin as Hobbit Samwise Gamgee, companion to Frodo (Elijah Wood) in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. New Line Productions
Published Feb. 3, 2015

All together now: "Rudy … Rudy … RUDY!" Or "Samwise!" if you're more into Tolkien than touchdowns. Maybe "Mikey!" if you're a Goonies fans.

Whatever you choose, get ready to welcome Sean Astin, the actor behind all three popular movie characters, to the ninth annual Gasparilla International Film Festival, running March 24-29.

Astin stars in the opening night selection The Surface, directed by Gil Cates Jr., son of 14-time Academy Awards show producer Gilbert Cates.

The Surface is a thriller set in the middle of Lake Michigan, where a boater (Astin) and a downed pilot (Chris Mulkey, Twin Peaks) cling to survival. The Surface co-stars Mimi Rogers, and the Gasparilla festival hopes the main talent will attend the March 24 screening at the Tampa Theatre. After opening night, all screenings will be held at Channelside Cinemas, temporarily re-opened for festival activities.

"Plans are underway for all actors to make an appearance for opening night," the festival's executive director Monica Varner said in a news release, "with all committed except Rogers, who is finalizing her schedule."

The Gasparilla International Film Festival also announced Tuesday that Suncoast Credit Union signed on as the event's presenting sponsor. Last year's festival drew a reported 13,500 attendees.