Posted by: ralphm1999 | May 5, 2010
I was booked on That Thing You Do as a golfer. BTW I am a golfer. :)
The production company had set up a few mats and other driving range paraphernalia on a strip of grass next to number 18 fairway at Rancho Park Golf Course. In the scene a group of us were faking hitting balls off the mats as if we were practicing.
Charlize was on a mat a couple yards from mine. She was supposed to be taking a lesson. Tom Hanks (in his first directorial effort) was sitting on a lawn chair slightly to the left of the camera. The camera was pointing straight at Charlize about 20 feet in front of her mat.
She did fine in the rehearsal although she had no idea how to hold the club. The actor playing her teacher apparently did know something about golf and was helping her to at least be able to swing the club.
The scene began, Tom Hanks called action….. Charlize hit a few balls quite well, then she swung a club back and forth as you do to get the aim and relax your arm. She took a few swings at the ball missing it or hitting it on the ground. Tom Hanks told her to keep going until she hit it good. Finally she swung the club back then forward with all her might. As the club swung up in front of her, she lost her grip, the club took off like a plane high in the air spinning from front to back and came down in a beautiful arc heading straight at Tom Hanks. Tom kicked back in his lawn chair, the chair falling backwards and Tom landing on the ground with his feet kicking up in the air. Charlize grabbed her head in embarrasment. You can see the actor playing the teacher begin to break up in laughter.
The entire set was in instant hysterical laughter after Tom called cut. Tom Hanks had tears streaming down his face. The golf shot was so spontaneous and natural that Tom Hanks decided to leave it in the the final movie print.
Here it is: