Today I worked as an extra in a Vince Vaughn/Jennifer Connolly film directed by Ron Howard currently called Cheaters.
Being a movie star may be glamourous, but being an extra is a lot about waiting. However, there aren’t many places you can get paid (albeit not that much) to sit and read, use your cell or chat with fellow extras. I do it mostly because I enjoy being close enough to major stars and directors that I can see and hear them at work. Sometimes we’re served amazing lunches, like grilled salmon and a variety of homemade desserts…almost any meal I don’t have to shop for, cook and clean up after is a good meal.
On today’s set, an upscale restaurant, I was in fact close enough to Ron Howard that he spoke to me. Ok, so it wasn’t to direct me (though he did during an El scene in Backdraft back in 1990…a scene he said was important–involving William Baldwin on his way to his first day of work as a fireman–but was cut, in the days before deleted scenes were saved for DVDs. WB, carrying a bunch of bags, sat in front of me as I read a magazine. I was supposed to react at a certain spot. Our train rode around the Loop many times.). It was to apologize for almost tripping over my chair.
Vince V and Jennifer C walked right by my table. It’s very interesting to note the changes and adjustments made for each take, and to see close up the process of filming different scenes. And, as an upscale diner, I also got to eat a piece of delicious chocolate hazelnut mousse cake.
Today’s hours were quite reasonable, 7:30AM-2:00PM. Usually extras work around 12 hours. And on Public Enemies, I worked from 9:00AM until 2:30AM the next morning, including the two hours it took to get into 1930’s hair, makeup and wardrobe.
Transformers 3 is next to come to town…but I chose not to attend the open casting call–aka registration–and wait for hours in line. The FOX series Ride Along starring Jennifer Beals is supposed to film entirely in Chicago. I worked on the pilot (and in the small world vein was placed in the office of someone who used to be a corporate America client of mine), but perhaps I’ll work on an episode or episodes, too….