Movie echoes his own story as a Lost Boy of Sudan

When The Good Lie opens in movie theaters this week, one face will be immediately recognizable to those from the University of Bridgeport: actor and alumnus Ger Duany, who appears in the Hollywood movie with Reese Witherspoon.

Ger_ Duany The Good LieDuany graduated from UB in 2005, but began his movie career a year before earning his bachelor’s degree in Human Services.

It was one of several improbable turns for a life worthy of a Hollywood movie.

One of over 20,000 Lost Boys displaced and orphaned during the Sudanese civil war, Duany traveled hundreds of miles on foot across that country, fought as a child soldier and spent years in refugee camps before coming to the United States as a refugee.

In The Good Lie, art imitates life as Duany plays Jeremiah, a Sudanese refugee who is eventually relocated to Kansas City. He is helped and befriended by a jobs counselor played by Witherspoon.

Talking about the convergence between Hollywood and his personal history, Duany noted, “In life we have choices, and sometimes some of us get hit really hard, and we get up at different paces. I’m not sharing something really special. Sharing my life story is a way of finding my own peace. If you find it inspiring, I find your life inspiring, too.”

Special or not, Duany’s journey has been improbable. After coming to the U.S., he began playing basketball and dreamed of playing for the NBA. He enrolled at UB after being recruited by the men’s basketball team. “That dream is still in my head; it’s not dying any time soon,” he jokes.
But his athletic career was eclipsed when he was cast in I ♥ Huckabees. He got the role after Mary Williams, founder of the Lost Boys Foundation with strong ties to Hollywood, contacted Duany’s close friend, Manute Bol, the late Sudanese-born basketball star and fellow UB alumnus.

“She called Manute and said, ‘There’s a role in the movie about south Sudan, and they would like to host an audition in Connecticut. If you know any other boys who are Lost Boys in Connecticut, they can audition,’” recalled Duany. “I was in Syracuse, and I drove to Connecticut. We auditioned on a $200 camcorder. Three months later they made a decision, and I got the role.”

His other credits include Restless City, The Fighter, and Ger: To Be Separate. The crowd-funded documentary follows Duany’s return to south Sudan in search of his family in 2010.
Media contact: Leslie Geary, (203) 576-4625, lgeary@bridgeport.edu