Concerns about talent scout

WALT DICKSON
Last updated 11:56 31/01/2013

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Wairarapa News

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Police are urging young women to be cautious if they are approached by a man offering them the opportunity to star in a Universal Film Studios production.

Henry Jakes claims that he is a casting director looking for potential models/actresses to star in Bring-It-On-Cheerleading and American Pie movies.

If selected they can pack their bags and head to Los Angeles for three years to start a glamorous new life, taking a family member or a friend, if they wish.

Wairarapa News knows of at least three women who have been contacted by Mr Jakes.

Though initially flattered at the proposal one of the women said she became "uneasy" the longer she spent talking to him. He came up to her when she was working at a Masterton checkout.

"He said he was looking for blonde girls to audition for the movies that they are shooting." She had planned to take her concerns to police yesterday with a photo of the man taken from CCTV footage.

Another woman has already contacted police.

When contacted by Wairarapa News Mr Jakes said he understood that some people might be suspicious but he was not operating a "scam".

Candidates must be a minimum of 18 years of age, he said.

Mr Jakes, a South African, said he was based in Los Angeles but was spending several months in New Zealand scouting for talent for upcoming Bring-It-On- Cheerleading/American Pie movies. He said he did not want to restrict his search to just Auckland and Wellington.

"A lot of small towns don't usually get offers like this; it only happens in the big city," he said.

He may be back in Masterton for auditions next week which would involve a photo shoot plus "reading one or two lines from a script acting out a character".

Masterton police sergeant Mike Sutton said that though the incident had yet to come to his attention he urged women to be careful.

Unless someone could provide strong evidence to support what they were saying it was probably a case of "too good to be true", Mr Sutton said.

His advice to any women speaking to Mr Jakes was to ask lots of questions.

"Certainly do not do anything that you regret later on. Don't put yourself in a vulnerable situation," he said.

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- Wairarapa News

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