WASHINGTON — Making the acquaintance of a favorite actor from a favorite television show is a memory most people would look back on with pleasure, but it turned Washington boy Caden Hoffman-Montgomery into an aspiring actor.
Laura Hoffman and her son, Hoffman-Montgomery, 9, were visiting Chicago in March to attend a Blackhawks hockey game. Laura Hoffman’s mother, having accompanied the other two on the trip and knowing Hoffman-Montgomery’s interest in shows like “Chicago PD” and “Chicago Fire,” suggested they also visit Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, where those shows are produced.
“They were actually filming off-site that day,” said Hoffman. “We tried to track down where they were filming. Caden just wanted to see how they shot the episode. We got to the site a few minutes too late. The actors had left, and the crew was packing up.”
From a crew member, Hoffman learned that cast and crew of “Chicago PD” were returning to the studio to finish filming. The three drove back to Cinespace, where they waited outside the studio in hopes of encountering someone affiliated with the show.
“We got in the car and started to leave,” said Hoffman. “But then I said, ‘Let’s go back one more time.’ So, I drove around the block, and we parked again and got out.”
“We’d been there a couple of minutes when a van pulled up,” said Hoffman-Montgomery. “My favorite actor from the show (Jason Beghe, who plays Sgt. Hank Voight) got out of the van. My mom asked if he would pose for a picture with me, so we had our picture together. We talked for a while, then he invited us inside. We got to watch them shoot a scene, and I got to sit in the director’s chair. After that, he invited me to eat lunch with him.”
Last month, Hoffman-Montgomery was able to both cap the memory of meeting Beghe and craft a bullet for an acting resume this fall when he was selected to appear in an episode of “Chicago PD.” His mother is currently acting as his agent. She has contacted casting agencies on his behalf, recognizing that they have access to potential roles that she may not.
“Caden has wanted to be an actor since meeting Jason Beghe, because of how hospitable he was,” said Hoffman. “It was my job to figure out how to get him started.”
His appearance on “Chicago PD” is not Hoffman-Montgomery’s first acting credit. He also performed in a back to school commercial for Kmart. He also was invited to appear on the television show “Empire,” in August, but declined the role in favor of viewing the solar eclipse. Hoffman also has submitted his name for another “Chicago PD” episode.
“A lot of casting agencies have Facebook pages, and they post on those pages when they are looking for someone,” said Hoffman. “On one of the pages, we saw the agency was looking for someone his age to be on ‘Chicago PD.’ Of course, we submitted to it. The week the studio was shooting the episode, we found out they wanted Caden to be on the show.”
Because the school year had started during the shooting of the episode, Hoffman-Montgomery was required by law to attend school, and there was a teacher on site for the day. Despite schoolwork filling part of his day and acting responsibilities filling much of what would otherwise have been his play time, the experience seems to have only solidified his ambition to become an actor.
“I liked having a chance to see how the episode was put together,” said Hoffman-Montgomery. “I would like to be in a new show I could have a main part in, so I could do it every day.”
The episode of “Chicago PD” in which Hoffman-Montgomery appears is called “Home.” It will air at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25, on NBC.