My Celluloid Immortality

https://barbaryalan.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/my-celluloid-immortality/

I was living in Las Vegas, it was the mid 90’s, so I was in my late 20’s. I was doing a number of things for a living back then, hell, it was Vegas. I think I was doing some driving work, some bodyguard stuff and some music promoting/club management at the time. The only one paying with any regularity was the driving, though the bodyguard work turned into a kind of entourage thing but that’s another story, for another time.
I got the call asking if I was available to do some extra work in a major film, of course, I said yes. The name of the movie was “Fools Rush In”. I had been re-bitten by the acting bug shortly after getting to Vegas and getting my first Bodyguard work down there. While working for some lesser known actors and some other Hollywood professionals, I was informed that I just HAD to drop off a head shot with this Extra company, that they had a big call coming up, and I should get in on it…… Actually took me down to the place in the course of our weekends festivities to get me signed up. Didn’t think much about it, that is, until I got the call for Casino, but again another story……
Back to the matter at hand, my Celluloid success. You see, I have been an extra in a number of movies, but Fools Rush In was the first one and perhaps only(haven’t seen them all) one where I could find myself in the movie. Even in Casino, the closest I can get is a shoulder that I think might be mine….
So I get this call, telling me to be down at this closed little restaurant, I think the call was 9:30 a.m. They have tents set up, and I am just checking in, about 15 minutes early, when I hear a woman make a call for some people she had identified(presumably from people who’s call time had been earlier) as able to play Hispanic Tough Guys…….. Well, I finished checking in, then made a bee-line for the woman who had made that call. She had already sent the people she had called to wardrobe and was just turning away when I caught up to her…
I asked if she had made that call for Tough guys, she said yes, and I said, “I realize my call time was at 9:30 and you didn’t pick me for it, but if you were looking for Hispanic looking tough types..” I trailed off, gestured to myself, looked back at her, and said “What about me?”her eyes widened, she smiled and said “Oh hell yeah, go to wardrobe, follow those guys…..”
So after the inevitable hurry up and wait that is a Movie Set, they go to place us for the shot, which is a line of people waiting for the bathroom in a little mexican restaurant(with

mariachi band!), in which the payphone is in the hallway to the unisex bathroom…..whew.. the idea is Salma(Hayek) is on the phone and Matthew Perry is waiting in line for the bathroom, a rather long line, full of latin tough guys. The phone is in the middle of the line, so when Salma finishes her phone call, she cuts in line, in front of Matthew Perry, hilarity/love story ensues from there……
Well, I’m the guy in front of Matthew Perry in line! No way I’m hitting the cutting room floor, and I know it! I think there was one person in front of me. We were to go by Salma, during her phone conversation, when it was our turn to use the facilities, wait for our cue to come out, then come out, going by Salma again. Pretty simple right? WRONG!!!
This hallway was only about 4 feet wide, add a payphone and Salma, and there isn’t much room for a guy like me to get by, not a big deal, but hard to do without brushing up against Salma, AWWW, feel for me don’t ya? K, K, enough, I get it….. Anyway, there is more to this problem, you see, there is almost a foot difference in height between Salma and Matthew. They have this long drawn out, argumentative conversation, face to face, but still a foot apart? No way, no good for the camera. So they build this 6 inch platform for her to stand on to make the shots work. Problem? yes, you see this platform runs down the narrow hallway, and across the line for the bathroom. I have to step over the platform, then nearly tightrope walk down the hallway because If I step on the platform I’m 6’4″, and I can’t make it look like it’s a struggle. Again, not really a big deal, but it’s not easy either.
So, with acrobatics going on behind her, Salma’s less than fluent english becomes apparent. These are long lines, lines she is having with a non-existent person on the phone, lines of English and Spanish mixed, not easy stuff. Then she has long quippy lines with Matthew, and again, this is only her 2nd or 3rd English movie….. So this scene took most of the day, seriously, 5 minutes of celluloid, 10 hours real time. I know, I know, I didn’t mind, could have been worse, yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re right, i didn’t mind, not at all, for the first 4 hours!!
Then we had to finish the lead up scene to that one, a wider interior shot of the restaurant. I’m guessing the frustration of the previous scene led to the Cine-mistake I will explain here. People were moving fast, trying to get things done. They were shooting it as dinner hour, Mariachi band playing, panning around to show the full restaurant, eventually to rest on the bathroom line, to lead into the shot we had already done.

Well, they sat us all down, made us pretend to be eating and talking, while they did this moving shot…. here is the problem….They sat me down at a table, in the middle of the room. The camera pans around behind me, getting a good shot of my back and shortly thereafter is focusing on the bathroom line where, POOf there I am, at the front of the line, with 12 or 13 people behind me…. Either I was one REALLY bad hombre and cut in line, or Hollywood goofed. keep in mind, a big part of the scene is people in line freakin out over Salma cutting in line!!
As a side note I got paid extra to park my truck in the parking lot, so that it would look like an open restaurant.. SWEEET!!!

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