Organic Farmer Catches ‘Acting Bug’ in Promised Land

Troy Bogdan of Bridgeville says he caught the “acting bug” after a back injury sidelined him from working on his Crawford County organic farm last April. He played an extra in the new movie "Promised Land" that hit theaters Friday.

Troy Bogdan, an organic farmer living in Bridgeville, says he caught the “acting bug” after a back injury sidelined him from working on his Crawford County farm last year.

An audition for a role as an extra last May has snowballed into a flurry of acting parts in several movies filming around western Pennsylvania, including the major production of “Promised Land,” which opened in theaters Friday morning.

“I’ve been a fan of movies all my life, but I never thought I would be working for them,” Bogdan said. “It’s a hobby and we’ll see where it goes. I don’t have any expectations of being a movie star, but maybe it can lead to part-time income to supplement the farm income. I’ll do it as long as I’m still having fun.”

The work started after Bogdan, while working at the 110-acre Crawford County organic farm he owns with his wife, Sharon, suffered a herniated disc in his back while carrying a beehive in late April. Unable to do any heavy lifting, Bogdan found a news article a month later about extras needed for a movie around Pittsburgh.

He emailed his photo with some information and within three minutes was on the phone with the casting agent. Not long after, he was cast as a farmer in “Promised Land” and sitting in a makeup trailer with legendary actor Hal Holbrook, who called Bogdan’s unique beard “beautiful.”

“That first day I worked on ‘Promised Land,’ it was probably the best day I’ve had on movies ever since,” Bogdan said. “They treated me like a VIP. We got to do everyone with the crew.”

Moviegoers can expect to see him as one of two farmers waving in a field in one scene, and standing outside a town hall meeting in another. Of course, Bogdan said those parts could end up on the cutting room floor, so he’s anxious to see if his parts will be on the big screen.

The work on “Promised Land” has spun into at least seven other productions with more coming as he networks with the casts and crews. He’s also had various extra roles in the upcoming Channing Tatum movie known to the public as “Foxcatcher.”

There are other lesser known movies, student films and even a music video where Bogdan makes appearances.

With Bogdan’s physical rehabilitation now complete, he’s eyeing more acting roles while still keeping watch over his farm that produces organic garlic and honey.

“If I could do acting full-time, that could be interesting,” Bogdan said. “But I’m going to treat it as a hobby­–and no more than that–and keep doing it while meeting people. If I can make money on the side, that’s just extra.”


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