Fake Men in Black

An Actual Conversation I Had With A Fellow Extra On the Set of “Veep” Yesterday

A big part of working as an extra on a movie or TV set is waiting. Go here. Wait. Go there. Wait. It’s just part of the drill. There was a guy yesterday whom I suspect was unfamiliar with the experience and wanted something to happen NOW. And he wanted someone to vent to. Now. I was that someone.

Him: I know what’s taking so long. One of the guys playing a Secret Service guy said that Julia Louis-Dreyfus isn’t even here yet!

Me: She’s here. I saw her a couple of hours ago.

Him: No. (gestures to the table of extras dressed in black suits) The Secret Service said she’s not here.

Me: I saw her this morning on the set. She stuck her head in to say hello to some people and then I passed her on the street about an hour ago when I was coming back to the holding area.

Him: (a bit upset that I wasn’t agreeing with him) No. The Secret Service guys said she’s not even here.

Me: Those aren’t real Secret Service guys. You do realize we’re not really Senators, right?

An Extra Distraction

How do you know you’re a real fan of Judge Judy? How do you know when perhaps you’ve seen one too many episodes?

When you start to recognize the fact they’re using the same people in the audience over and over again, that’s when. Don’t be too impressed. I’m not actually that good with picking up small details like noticing the extras in a daily courtroom TV show.

But when one of the extras stands out like this one, you can’t help.

There she is in the upper left-hand corner. She just has a look that stands out. The harsh make-up. The angry eyebrows. That distinct Is-That-A-Dude-In-Drag uncertainty. That’s not an easy look to forget.

Especially when he/she pops up again….

…and again…

…and again…

…and again.

Hey, Judge Judy producers: I think it might be time to do another casting call for extras. When it becomes more fun playing Where’s The Angry Guy In A Wig than watching Judge Judy yell at people, that’s sort of a sign.

August (Not In A) Rush

Almost a year ago I did some extra work on August Rush, a film starring Jonathan Rhys Myers, Keri Russell, Robin Williams, Freddie Highmore, and Terrance Howard. I spent four freeeeeeeeezing nights in Central Park from 11pm to 6am and the scenes they shot with us were some of the last scenes they were shooting.

I just checked the Internet Movie Database to see when in the world this film is coming out, as I haven’t seen any trailers or anything for it. They don’t have any trailers listed, no picture or image for the film, and the release date they have only says “February 2007.”

What a bunch of liars.

I also looked up the only other project I worked on while in New York that still hasn’t come out, a film entitled Devil You Know starring Lena Olin. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the release date was “2006” and it only played in New York City. No box office stats or anything. It is my suspicion this little gem was probably a direct-to-video deal gone awry, but I haven’t been able to find anything else on it at IMDb.com or Amazon.com.

Let’s go, film people. You’ve had a year. Ed’s tired of waiting.

The Devil Does Indeed Wear Ed-a

I’ve had some people ask me if I can be spotted in either of the two movies that are currently out that I worked on, The Break Up and The Devil Wears Prada, and the answer is yes and no.

I have been lazy and haven’t gone out to the theaters yet to check them out and then realized I could download bootleg copies of them, review them, and find out. Now don’t get yourself in a bunch, I didn’t watch them, just skimmed them in 30-second intervals to look for the scenes I was in and then promptly deleted them.

I’m nowhere to be found in The Break Up. The roller blading scene and beach scene, in fact, didn’t even make the final cut of the film, so all we can do is hope I make it in the deleted scenes on the DVD.

The Devil Wears Prada is a different story. You have to be fast on your toes to see me, but I can indeed be seen! About 2/3 of the way through the film, there is a short montage of models on the runway at different fashion shows. The camera moves from shots of Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci to the models doin’ their runway thing. Immediately after that brief scene we cut to a party, and everything in the background is in white. The camera quickly pans back to reveal more of the party and there, right there, you can see me in the bottom right-hand portion of the screen.

And then I’m gone. Outta there.

Am I disappointed you don’t see more of me in either of the two films? Not at all. I got my check. Thanks. Cha-ching. See ya.

Without A Number

Yesterday I worked on the season finale of Without A Trace here in downtown Manhattan. I’ve never seen the show, so I wasn’t crazy stoked about being on the set, but I was definitely glad to get in more work.

It took place at a Chase bank that they had altered a bit to make look like an FBI building. They were only shooting the outside of the building and the rest of us were FBI employees evacuating the building.

It was a very efficient crew and we were on the set and working very quickly (comparatively). While on the set I met a really cool girl named Taisha from New Zealand. We had a good time chatting together but then we got separated and I didn’t get a chance to get any more info from her to keep in touch. So…that was weak.

If by any chance you run into a kiwi artist named Taisha, tell her I said hey.

Return of the Vampire

I think maybe I’ve seen the sun a total of 5 or 6 hours this week. I’ve been living the night life (complete with glo-sticks) and partying all week long. Either that, or I’ve been standing around the last couple of nights on a movie set waiting for the cameras to roll.

Just finished a 4-day shoot on the movie August Rush. The shoots were all overnight shoots, meaning I had to be there each night at 6:30PM and we got done each day around 6 or 7am. I would get home, watch TV for an hour or so, go to bed, get up at 4, and repeat the process.

I was told by my agent that Robin Williams would be there and good times would be had by all. I forgot that agents are LIARS. Not only was Robin Williams not there but I also wasted 75 dollars on my Mork costume.

In attendance was Jonathan Rhys-British guy (from Match Point), Keri Russell (from Felicity who, in person, looks like a clenched fist) and Freddie SomethingOrOther, the kid from Finding Neverland and the Tim Burton version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

We spent all four nights in Central Park shooting a scene as audience members at a NY Philharmonic performance. And I must admit, I was really impressed with the kid. He had to play like he was conducting the orchestra and in between shots he was the most professional, well-behaved robot of a kid you could ever imagine. My parents could only dream that I would have been that well-mannered when nothing was going on and we had to wait around for the crew to set themselves.

The highlight of the shoot was befriending a girl named Joan. We had a good time making sarcastic comments and remarks about everyone else in attendance who drove us nuts (or just looked funny).

During the shoot I was also able to read Dennis Miller’s The Rant Zone. If you’re a fan of Dennis Miller and his sense of humor, then you’ll really enjoy it. If you’re not a fan, then…well…you’re dumb.*

All in all, a good week. But man, if my sleep schedule was screwed up before….

*This book review brought to you by Ed as his 12-year-old self.

The Wedding Album

My first time on a film shoot in a while and it was nice to be back in the saddle again. Today I was on Wall Street shooting some scenes for a new television pilot (I believe for FOX) entitled The Wedding Album. If I am correct, its a romantic comedy about the ongoing adventures in love of a wedding planner.

We shot in a huge building (used to be a bank, I don’t know what they use it for now) that was all set up and decorated for a wedding party. Call time this morning was 7am. YIKES.

I got up extra early to ensure I would find my way there. They gave us the address to check in at but didn’t tell us that the actual address was a block and a half away on a different street. Good thing I left early.

The last few times Ive been on a shoot Ive played attendees of high-class occasions so I had to wear a suit and tie. It was nice today to be playing an electrician so I could wear the same crappy jeans and T-shirt Id wear on any other day.

It was an interesting psychological study to see people dressed in cool hip clothing playing floral designers gathering together in one clique and looking down on the people dressed as caterers or servers. The guy who was chosen to be the head Floral Attendant, with his gaudily bleached hair and Im-Jonathan-from-Bravos Blow Out attitude, believed he had been cast as the King of the World (or, more appropriately for him, the Queen) and began to prance about the set ordering people around. I enjoyed watching people roll their eyes at him and defying his power.

The first half of the morning was a little boring, as I didn’t do anything. Usually I dont mind doing nothing as its a movie set and nothing is usually what happens, but they had us waiting on set away from the holding area, which means away from my Soduko puzzle book Id brought along.

We broke for lunch and imagine my horror when they announced they werent providing lunch for us. That was a first. And, of course, the reason for my horror was I was carrying zero money. So during the lunch hour I did Soduko puzzles and secretly wondered why the lady in charge of the extras was in such a bad mood.

After lunch they put me in the background of a scene featuring a rigged table that crashed to the floor (with wedding cake on top of it). I don’t care if I am ruining the storyline or giving something away by revealing the cake doesn’t make it to the end of the show. Maybe next time they’ll think twice about not getting me a sandwich for lunch.

After that, they grabbed me out of the bunch to carry some flowers in a scene. According to the onlookers I got some good screen time in that scene so that was nice. After that they had me in a scene working on a speaker and in another scene working on a table.

All in all it was a good day. I was a little grumpy for a bit because I was hungry but I still enjoyed myself. I was on the set until 8:30PM and I didn’t mind a bit. A lot of people were ready and eager to leave, but since we get paid overtime I didnt see what the big rush was.

Needless to say I came home exhausted. I have a 3-day shoot coming up next week for the new Robin Williams movie, August Rush. I don’t know if hell be in any of the scenes were shooting but they are overnight shoots and take place in Central Park. I wonder if anyone will be there to walk me home.