Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wonderful World

Guess I can check "Be in a movie" off my Bucket List now. I haven't heard from anyone who's seen it, so I could be on the cutting room floor, but Wonderful World with Matthew Broderick premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last night. That's the flick in which I had the opportunity to work as an extra a while back.

(See some coverage of the premiere here or watch the trailer.)

I play a lawyer, so look for me in a courtroom scene. Shaved the beard, kept the mustache, donned a blue suit. Tried to look lawyerly. Had no idea there were magical realism elements though there appear to be in the trailer.

Here's how it happened
This all started because they were filming Stephen King's The Mist in Shreveport, known these days as SoHo - South Hollywood. Thinking it would be cool to pass through a scene in a Stephen King movie, I sent in my head shot and contact information, and didn't get anything.

Life goes on.

Flash forward to months after I forgot about The Mist. I was in Portland, ironically staying at a movie-themed boutique hotel, when I got an e-mail from the casting agency. They'd been trying to call me. While I hadn't been needed for The Mist, or a multitude of Feast sequels, they'd kept my pic on file, and they needed someone who looked like me for a movie with Matthew Broderick, written and directed by Joshua Goldin, who wrote Darkman. It was thus not without fanboy virtues.

The scheduling worked out, so about a week after I returned to Texas, I drove over to Shreveport one Friday evening. It was the last day of filming, so everyone was pulling an all-nighter.

Holding Pattern
I went to the extras holding area, a former guitar store, where they gave me my blue suit to put on, and introduced me to the other "lawyers." Then we sat for a while listening to people who had been in Feast 2 or 3 discussing running frantically from monsters for eight to 10 hours. I also picked up a story that some of the extras in The Mist passed out while wearing haz-mat suits in the Louisiana heat.

Sometimes, fortuity comes disguised as missed opportunity.

Got to know my fellow attorneys while we sat around. One was a professor, one a chaplain and one was in oil and gas. Everybody was pretty much there for the fun of it like I was. One guy had walked Kevin Costner's dog in a street scene in Mr. Brooks. Set in Portland, filmed in Shreveport.

I was wondering if any of the stars would be showing up, when the oil man pointed out a guy wearing a Greek fisherman's cap as James Burton.

"Who?"

"You know, Elvis's James Burton."

Or guitar legend James Burton as the case may be.

"Oh yeah, he used to have really long hair."

Matthew Broderick passed through a little while later to shoot a DVD-extra interview in a back room.

After dinner with the crew served from catering trucks, we went down a couple of doors to Shreveport's courthouse to settle in to courtroom where second or third assistant directors put us in place next to Drew Waters now of Friday Night Lights.

Basically, I got to participate in storytelling in a completely different way than I'm used to, and I got a front row seat to watch Matthew Broderick shoot a major speech. I was kind of surprised at how subdued it seemed. On film, larger than life comes naturally I suppose. Theatricality is for the stage.

I pretty much memorized his speech as they filmed it from different angles, though I'll keep it to myself lest it be a spoiler. Kind of makes me aware of how things were for the judges in say The Cain Mutiny Court Martial on Broadway.

Like, I say, I don't know if I wound up on the cutting room floor or not, but it was loads of fun either way. Since I couldn't make it to the premiere ;-), I'll be watching local listings or waiting for the DVD.

7 comments:

Lana Gramlich said...

We'll definitely have to put that on our watch list. Looking forward to it!

Charles Gramlich said...

I could buy you as a lawyer who fights crime at night as a Werepanther.

Sidney said...

Thanks, Lana.

Say, Charles, that sounds like a high concept idea!

laughingwolf said...

grats sidney! will look for it, but in this jerkwater town it may never arrive other than on dvd :(

Avery DeBow said...

My SUV was in Tuck Everlasting (the Architect and I were supposed to be the drivers/extras, too, but were too old looking to be the teens driving it). It was torture sitting there watching the scene get set and then shot. It was nearly ninety-five degrees in full sun and those poor extras were herded up the street, told to walk down it, then were herded back up to do it again. I was dying and I was sitting in the shade next to the craft services table. I can't imagine how those people summoned the fortitude to go all day long. Must've been the pay. The pay was really, really good.

Erik Donald France said...

Awesome, man! Super congrats!

Bob Andelman said...

FNL fans might also enjoy this May 6, 2010 Mr. Media video interview with new “Lights” star Drew Waters, who plays Coach Wade Aiken on the show!

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