Amanda Davenport isn’t an actress, but she performed a starring role, so to speak, for a huge annual event last weekend in Pilot Point.
Davenport played Bonnie Parker in the annual Bonnie and Clyde Days festival last Saturday on The Square. She said she just happened to be selected for the role.
Davenport is Pilot Point’s economic development director. At a business meeting, she ran into Wayne Purser, the man in charge of finding actors to fill the role for the annual event.
“I went to go talk to Wayne because I hadn’t been to his shop yet, and he told me I was the same size as Bonnie Parker and they were looking for a Bonnie. I told them I could do it and I have my own Clyde,” she said.
“I’m married to her, so I got put in that position,” husband Joe Duncan, who portrayed Clyde, said with a smirk.
This was the second year for Davenport and Duncan to play Bonnie and Clyde. T hey were married over the summer.
Duncan and Davenport have recorded digital shorts for fun and enjoy being in front of the camera. They made college videos when they were resident hall assistants at Murray State University,” Davenport said.
“Murray State has a residential system kind of like Cambridge or Harry Potter,” Duncan said as he laughed. “They have houses instead of dorms, so they’d have events throughout the year where the houses would compete against each other. We’d participate in the competitions and make videos.”
Duncan is the exhibits curator for the Denton County Office of History and Culture, so he’s familiar with the original story of the notorious duo.
“I help run the museums for Denton County, so I knew about them because it’s a pretty well-known story in the area,” he said.
Duncan and Davenport talked about what goes through their minds as they act out the scene. The climax starts when Bonnie and Clyde get into their getaway car after they’ve robbed the bank and engage the police in a shoot-out as they speed away.
They both use guns that fire blank rounds so loud they needed earplugs.
“First thing that crosses my mind is don’t fall off the car,” Duncan said as he laughed. “And don’t shoot at anybody.”
“I think about the timing and the pacing so that it doesn’t go too fast but it goes fast enough that people don’t get bored,” Davenport said.
“I try to pretend that it’s a real fight so that my movements are fun to watch,” Duncan said.
Duncan said he gets an adrenaline rush out of playing Clyde.
“Not too much, but my heart rate is definitely up,” Duncan said.
“Especially when the guns start going off,” Davenport said.
“When I got in the car, my driver told me he was a little out of breath,” Duncan said.
“The chase scene is kind of exhilarating because you have to worry about not hitting anyone as you’re driving down the road,” Davenport said.
The Pilot Point town square was the location where a scene from the 1967 film “Bonnie and Clyde” was shot. F&M bank was used for the bank robbery scene.
“I think most people are interested in the bank robbery,” Davenport said. “Especially since it’s such local folklore around here. I think it’s extra fascinating that they really did come to our bank and film the movie that was based on robberies that happened around here.”
“I’m most interested in the fact that this festival and re-enactment isn’t about Bonnie and Clyde, it’s about them making a movie about Bonnie and Clyde. The real Bonnie and Clyde never did anything in Pilot Point as far as I know. They were in the area, but they didn’t actually rob this bank. I think it’s just an interesting layer to the festival,” Duncan said.
Fans of the festival from all across the globe came down to watch the bank robbery scene and enjoy the other festivities.
“It’s surprising where people come from and how far they traveled to come see this and how excited they are and how much they really enjoy it,” Davenport said.
“The plethora of accents I heard from people that were taking photos with us was crazy,” Duncan said.
“Some people came from Spain and even Sweden,” Davenport said. “It’s so fascinating how much this event brings to the town. Not just people locally, but people travel from all over the nation. One lady came from upstate New York just for this. That’s always really cool that people come to Pilot Point for this. It’s fun to be a part of something that attracts so many people here.”
Duncan and Davenport plan to be Bonnie and Clyde as long as the city will allow.
“As long as the weather stays this nice, we’ll keep doing it,” Duncan said with a laugh. “We’re in Texas, so you’ll never know.”