Maybe the only thing eerier than AMC's "The Walking Dead" TV series is finding out you're a dead ringer for one of the show's stars. That's what happened to Naches native Jerad Strocsher, who now finds himself walking side by side with Lee Vervoort in an upcoming film -- a film Yakima will get to sample before just about anyone else this Thursday (July 12) at downtown's Orion Cinema, 202 E. Chestnut Ave.
Vervoort plays a Savior in Seasons 6 and 7 of "The Walking Dead," but he's been working on a project of his own titled "The Beast of LBL." It's the legend of The Dogman, a shadowy character in Kentucky folklore -- think of it as the Southeast's Bigfoot.
Vervoort, a Michigan native who moved to Kentucky when he was 7, was always fascinated by the tale and finally teamed up with an old friend, Spencer Balentine, to tell the story of The Dogman -- "The Beast of LBL."
So how'd a guy from Naches who works for the Selah Moxee Irrigation District get involved? Well, it turns out the film industry is always on the lookout for new faces. Or maybe familiar faces. And Strocsher's face, as it turns out, is uncannily similar to Vervoort's.
A friend of Vervoort's, Eric Koch -- a retired Kentucky veteran -- noticed the likeness when Strocsher left a comment on TV's Jesse James' ("Outlaw Garage") Facebook page. “Lee," Koch told Vervoort, "I think I’ve found your long-lost brother …your doppelganger.”
Vervoort saw the similarity, too, and reached out to Strocsher with a Facebook message.
Put their pictures side by side and you'd swear they were brothers -- which is exactly what they play in "The Beast of LBL."
It's a long way from the mountains of Naches to the hill country of Kentucky, but that hasn't prevented Vervoort and Strocsher from growing close. Now, as they work to complete "The Beast of LBL," they're offering audiences a taste of what's to come with a brand-new trailer, filmed by Chad Fuller and Matt Green of Fuller & Green Productions of Greenville, Ky.
Vervoort and Strocsher will both be on hand to present a free screening of the trailer this Thursday in House 2 of the Orion Cinema. They'll also be on hand to sign autographs, posters and T-shirt or pose for pictures. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. at the 21-and-older theater, and the trailer will begin showing at 5:15.
The event is hosted by Debra Thompson-Holm of VenYou Marketing and
Sabrina Strocsher, mother of Jerad Strocsher.
Vervoort and  Strocsher will also be on hand to meet the public and preview the trailer from 4-6 p.m. Friday (July 13) at Owens Cycle, 1707 N. First St., and at 6:30 p.m. at Union Gap's Old Town Pump, 3716 Main St. Autographed posters and T-shirts will be on sale.