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From the court to the big screen

Cassandra Bagnell in The Miracle Season
Cassandra Bagnell in The Miracle Season

On Friday, April 6, 2018, The Miracle Season hit theatres and the Tigers own Cassandra Bagnell made her big screen debut.

Set in Iowa City, Iowa, in 2011, the movie is based on the true story of the West High School girls volleyball team’s back-to-back state championships run after the tragic loss of their star player, Caroline Found.

The movie was filmed during the summer of 2016 in Vancouver, B.C. There was an open casting call to volleyball players in the region and after some prodding from her dad, women’s volleyball Tiger Cassandra Bagnell decided to give it a shot.

“The casting call was much like other volleyball tryouts I’ve been to,” recalls Bagnell. “We went through drills and stations and eventually I was grouped with some other girls to form one of the teams that West High School plays.”

Soon Bagnell earned the role of co-captain of the Iowa City High School girls volleyball team, West High’s main adversary. The two teams play each other early on in the film and eventually meet again for the State championship.

After two weeks of training and learning some specific sequences, she and her teammates spent a week filming scenes.

“It was a long week with a lot of starts and stops and a lot of waiting around,” says Bagnell. “It was difficult to get on a roll as every contact and sequence had to be perfect. I’ve never heard the word ‘cut’ so much in my life!”

Bagnell had to wait for two long years to see the final product, eagerly anticipating how many of her scenes would make the final film.

“It was funny seeing myself on screen," she says. "I wasn't sure what they were going to do with all the footage we had taken during the week of filming, but it ended up coming together. I think the volleyball was high level and pretty realistic.”

Reflecting back on her time on set, Bagnell has nothing but great things to say.

“I feel very proud to have been a part of telling the story of Caroline Found," says Bagnell. "I got to meet a lot of new people and even got to have lunch with Helen Hunt, who stars as Coach Kathy Bresnahan. Her young daughter was there too and she was really interested in volleyball and had a lot of questions.”

As fun an experience as it was, the second-year arts student is not looking to make a go at being an actor.

She adds, “the most rewarding part for me was being a part of a project that showcases women in sport, specifically in a sport I really love. I didn’t really feel any kind of spark or drive to pursue acting as a career.”

Bagnell can be seen in a number of the trailers and has some speaking parts in them and the film. Be sure to head to theatres and check it out for yourself!

Trailer (Look for Bagnell at 1:05 & 1:12):