Kacey Leggio plays a role in "One Candle One Man," which premeires Sunday at the Port Theater. (Courtesy Kacey Leggio / November 2, 2012)

Kacey Leggio was about 4 years old when she visited the Port Theater, looked at the screen and proclaimed to her mother: "Mommy, I'm gonna be up there someday."

For the 20-year-old Newport Beach native and aspiring actress, that goal is coming true Sunday night at the invite-only premiere of "One Candle One Man" at the newly revived Corona del Mar venue on East Coast Highway.

The film by Xerxes Afshar is partially based on his own life. He directed it, played the starring role and wrote the screenplay. The film runs about an hour and 47 minutes.

According to the film's synopsis on Facebook, "A champion fighter chooses a life of solitude after being badly beaten shortly after winning his match. Surrounded by his paintings and past memories, in darkness he sits typing pages to his book with only a candle of light and a bottle of wine by his side. His life changes when a woman in danger shows up at his door."

Kacey's character is Rayne, the daughter of a murdered woman and the protagonist's love interest. She said some of her scenes were filmed at Crystal Cove and in other parts of Newport.

"It's very exciting," she said of the upcoming premiere. "I'm very anxious but very, very moved at the same time for the whole experience."

More than 200 people are expected to attend Sunday's private event, said Kacey's mother, Laurie Leggio, who was a co-executive producer and the producer of "One Candle One Man." She calls her daughter "her shining star."

And what of Kacey's artistic sensibilities?

"The acting part, she did on her own," Laurie said. "The writing part, we did together."

Kacey graduated from Corona del Mar High School and was in a musical there during her senior year. She took acting classes for years with Stephanie Lloyd in Laguna Beach and Richard De Lancy.

She's now a student at Santa Monica College. Some of her earliest onstage appearances were at Lincoln Elementary School.

"She's been our pride, joy and happiness," said Dana Grissom, a longtime family friend. "She's just a beautiful, sweet, kind-hearted young lady."

The film is still looking for a distributor, but its trailer is on YouTube. The movie also has a Facebook page.

Laurie suggested calling Port Theater managers so that future screenings of "One Candle One Man" can be arranged.

bradley.zint@latimes.com

Twitter: @bradleyzint