Portales couple’s granddaughter in CBS movie

By Karl Terry, PNT managing editor

Portales will have a connection among the cast of “Comanche Moon” a CBS mini-series premiering Jan. 13.

Melanie Lindahl, 9, of Tijeras, knew she wanted to be an actress from a young age, said her mother. When she turned 5, her parents allowed her to register with a talent agency.

Melanie’s grandparents, Peggy and Jeff Burmeister, live in Portales and the vivacious youngster visits often. Jeff works at KENW-TV and regular viewers may have seen Melanie on the set during the annual Tele-Auctions.

After a part as an extra on the Steven Spielberg movie, “Into The West,” left her image on the cutting room floor she landed a more substantial role in “Comanche Moon,” based on the final book in author Larry McMurtry’s “Lonsome Dove” series.

“I love Larry McMurtry novels and to see her in a show about a book I’ve read is really neat,” Peggy said. “I love Westerns.”

The film was shot in New Mexico on a movie lot near Santa Fe. Peggy said she got to go with her granddaughter to the set a few times and was impressed with seeing a movie being made.

Melanie’s mother, Marla Lindahl, said it was about a year before they got a call-back and it was disappointing that her scenes in “Into The West” were cut. However, her son, Tyler Lindahl, was in the movie.

“She loves to watch Nickelodeon,” Marla said. “She’s always said, ‘I want to be on Nickelodeon someday.’ When she turned 5, that’s what she asked for (an agent) on her birthday.”

Melanie said she had a good time filming the movie (it was shot two years ago when she was 7) and she hopes for more roles soon.

“I liked meeting the people like Steve Zahn and a little girl I got to know who played my sister,” Melanie said. “We got to ride on horses, too.”

She recalls one scene where the pair got muddy riding through a puddle and the directors didn’t stop because they liked the extra mud.
Marla said her daughter is in a featured role in this movie, so the chances of being cut are much slimmer.

Melanie plays one of the daughters of a couple named Clark in the movie. In the scene, Indians harass Mrs. Clark and her two daughters before some of the heroes of the movie ride up and save them by killing the Indians.

In addition to her acting, Melanie is currently the Miss Sweetheart New Mexico for her age category. She also dances, sings and participates in Albuquerque Little Theatre.