Posted by: ralphm1999 | May 8, 2010
Modestly successful probably because Dave Letterman made a cameo appearance.
For me though this was the only time I opened a movie. Yup I had the first 21 seconds all to myself (that’s the filler time when people are still getting seated during the premiere. lol).
A problematic scene during the shooting. First when I was booked for some reason the wardrobe department got my coat size one size too small. So I could not get into the groundskeeper vest. It was like a corset. But easy to fix. simply rip open the back seam that holds the two sides of the vest together. Now it was more like putting on a hospital gown, the kind that ties closed at the back.
I had no idea I would be featured when I was booked. I was amazed to get the star treatment… hmmm….rather I should say the day player treatment. lol. After the wardrobe malfunction was rectified, I was rushed into makeup; strange since extras rarely get any makeup consideration except for a very brief inspection of all the extras in a group. But there I was in the makeup wagon being attended to by two makeup persons.
Wardrobe and makeup done, off to the set… the director was impatiently waiting for me (fixing the vest cost precious minutes in his schedule). I still had no idea that I had a solo moment in my future. I was given a director’s utility chair.. just like real actors (wait a minute. We extras are actors too, just silent, which often is more difficult than mouthing a line. )
The scene was shot in the middle of July, the sun was brutal… my face was getting red…. no problem.. a huge umbrella appeared from nowhere and was rigged over my director’s chair…. a makeup person stood by to continuously dry my face and reapply more makeup.
This scene and the choir singing scene following where both shot at the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. This is a very famous setting for tons of movies. From comedy to horror shows. Take a look at a roster of some films that had scenes in the mansion:
Here’s my scene:
You would think this was just a hohum scene to film… wrong… It defied the director’s will with a passion. In fact it took 3 hours to get a print. (print is the take that goes to the editing room).
First problem; the sign over the door would not stay up. time 1 hour to finally get a fix that worked to hold the sign in place. Next problem, the doors had not been used for eons…. they were stuck closed. The grips worked furiously with oil and brawn to get the doors to open and close. BUT, they were so heavy it was impossible to open them both at the same moment. The director tried everything, hiding a grip behind each door to help pull them open did not work… adding immense globs of oil to the hinges did nothing to lighten the weight… eventually the director told me to just open them anyway I could..which as you can see in the clip was one side at a time. lol. Time wasted 1 hour. In the first rehearsal, the director had me walk up the right side and then across the courtyard…. this became problematical for proper lighting and a half hour later was junked. In fact I (ME) suggested to the director that I walk up the center of the courtyard…. He was delighted with my idea (short bow). Then he added the bit of business that I stop and inspect the leaf in the bush. After endless rehearsals we got a print…yeahhh. After each rehearsal, the grips had to hose down the entire courtyard.. this is usually done in street scenes to get the proper contrast of the ground…. it was so hot that the water evaporated nearly instantly…
Did you see me water the flowers in the pot? No you didn’t. I had to fake watering them as they would have drowned during the endless rehearsals and takes.