MANATEE -- Paige Oswald, a 2012 graduate of Braden River High School, has been selected as a cast member of "Force," an action pilot for TV set to start production in Atlanta in October.
Although Oswald has plenty of plans, work in film was not on her radar.
"It all happened so fast. It's hard for me to digest," Oswald said Wednesday.
Now a junior at Florida Gulf Coast University majoring in journalism, Oswald has been a model, but her martial arts skills brought her to the attention of the producers.
She is cast as Jessica Cellini, daughter of a mob boss who is killed during a crime war between Italian and Russian crime families, accord
ing to director and writer Dena Rivera.
The women in "Force" don't stand around waiting for men to come to the rescue.
"Paige will transform from a regular teenager to a super ninja teen," Rivera said in a phone interview Wednesday.
Oswald, who has a martial arts black belt, won three gold medals as a member of the U.S. National Team during the 2010 World Games in Las Vegas.
"They found her martial arts videos online," said her mother, Miranda Oswald.
Paige Oswald has a martial arts instructor in the family. Her dad, Jessie Vi, is grand master and founder of Ming Wu Martial Arts.
On its Facebook page, "Force" describes Paige Oswald as "the female Jason Statham."
"One of the most versatile talents to go before the camera, Paige possesses a winning mixture of self-confidence and unorthodox determination," the Facebook page said.
Casting for "Force" is nearly complete, and includes eight or nine actors with black belts, Rivera said.
"We are women-centric," Rivera said.
Look for Oswald's Jessica Cellini to "feel her own power" and to quickly learn to take care of herself, Rivera said.
Among other cast members of "Force" is Raw Leiba, who had roles in the "Conan the Barbarian" remake and HBO's "Game of Thrones" series.
"There have been very few female action film directors," Rivera said, adding she is the first African-American female action film director.
Miranda Oswald said she was cautious when first approached by DeMar Productions, but was reassured by Rivera's role.
"My reaction was that I'm going to talk to them first," Miranda Oswald said.
Although the pilot has not yet been shot or sold, Rivera said she is confident it will be picked up by a major outlet.
"I can't wait to see how it ends up," Paige Oswald said. "It happened very randomly. At first I was very skeptical. I am very grateful for the opportunity. I am very excited."
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter @jajones1.