Thursday, October 21, 2010

Double Take

A friend shot me an e-mail from a casting company looking for a double for an actor. A double is someone of same height, build and appearance of the principal actor. Setting up a camera shot can take a long time to get lighting and blocking right. A stand in takes the place of a principal during the set up so the actor can remain in his or her comfortable dressing room until the director is ready to shoot.

When I worked Memphis beat, both stand in actors looked or were shaped nothing like the principals they were filling in for. The stand in for Jason lee is about 5 inches shorter and 40 pounds heavier than Jason, and with less hair than my ass. He must be some one's brother in law.  The e mail that I was sent had a photo of the actor Miguel Ferrer. Photo double needed, 6'1" medium build. I saw the e mail and thought "Yea, so? Why did you send it to me?"

A couple hours later my friend asked if they called me yet? "Who? About what?" Oh that. If you think so. I sent a photo in and with in 10 minutes received a call back. They asked for a most recent photo to forward to the director. I didn't get the photo double work but did get a call back for background work. Just as well. Even though stand in work is a step up from background with a little better pay and better food, I was happy with just background.

I ran into a number of background extras that I knew, all said it's been really slow for the past couple of months.  I ended up coming in late because of being contacted last minute. That was fine, I spoke with a buddy there who said they had sat in holding for the past 3 hours and hadn't been to the set. About 3 or 4 backgrounds came up to me and commented that I was a good stand in for Miguel. "But I didn't get the part." "Really? Ya kiddin? You kinda look like him"  Yea, well it's a cold heartless business.

We sat from 9pm until about 2:30 am until we were brought out to the casino. This scene was being shot at Harrah's. The second second assistant director (very sweet young lady) sat me and a couple of other backgrounds at a roulette wheel. The real casino dealer gave us each about $100 in practice chips and we started to play. He was cool and explained the game to us since none of us had ever played roulette. About 20 minutes passed as I waited to hear "BACKGROUND ACTION."

To my surprise the 2nd 2nd A.D. yelled "It's a wrap, thank you everybody." They had shot 3 takes with the actors and a steady cam and we never even knew they were filming. All of us were paid $100 cash and sent home. I had taken the ferry over to Harrah's and it wasn't running again until 6:00 am back to the West Bank where I live. What can I do in New Orleans at 3:00 in the morning with a $100 in my pocket? Ok, one beer.

I am proud of myself. On the walk down Canal Street I had three prostitutes asked if I was looking for fun. "No thanks honey" and I kept walking. I see this as a sign of personal growth. One beer later I looked at my watch and it was only 3:30 am.  I had trouble finishing my beer and just wanted to be home. I splurged on a $20 cab ride just to go to bed. 

Oh yea, the film is called THE COURIER

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