Being an extra in a movie is not something I want to do again anytime soon. However, I am very glad that Trey and I were able to experience it. We got to see Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek and met and chatted with the legendary Robert Duvall. When we talked to Duvall he tried asking Trey questions but Trey just kept responding with “Girls! Girls!”. He had been playing with some girls when I took him to met Duvall and he was very anxious to return to them.
We arrived on location and met our friend Jym Davis at 5:30am and were among the last to get there (Trey and I were numbers 843 & 844). While in line, the costume designer came out and pick out a crowd of people to send home since they didn’t have appropriate 1930s attire. After an hour and a half of standing in the 25 degree cold a crew member let Trey and me skip the line and go into a heated tent. The many layers we had on were keeping us warm but my arms were about to break from holding Trey.
After another 2+ hours of waiting in the tent, Jym, Trey, and I wandered out and somehow managed to get in a line of approved stand-ins heading straight to the set. We ended up in the group of paid extras with custom fit costumes who got to be closed to the cameras – and we hadn’t been seen or approved by ANY wardrobe, hair, or makeup crew!
Once on set Trey had a blast – running, playing with other kids, climbing on the antique cars, and meeting people who all thought he was absolutely adorable. They had grills setup and were making hotdogs & burgers, and they passed out popcorn which Trey also enjoyed.
Filming a movie is a lot of “hurry up and wait”. It would take them 30 minutes to an hour to set up a shot, they’d film for 2-4 minutes, yell “Cut!”, and you’d wait another 15 minutes before they filmed that shot a second and then third time. I would let Trey run around and have fun and when they were about to yell “Action!” I’d grab him and try to position us somewhere in line with the camera.
About 1pm he finally crashed and napped for 1 1/2 hours in the shade of an antique truck . That also proved to be a favorite photo op for everyone passing by.
The day warmed up and time flew by. Around 4:30pm, Sissy Spacek showed up to be in the final scene to be shot that day. Jym ended up standing right beside her so he might get some good face time on the silver screen. I didn’t help much with their continuity since between shots I had to take Trey out of the crowd to run around. Then when they would be about to film again, I’d grab Trey and make my way back into the crowd (and try to get up front). So during the film, Trey and I will be popping up in all sorts of different places.
I heard some extras accusing those that brought their kids of being “terrible parents” but I’m glad I took Trey. He was very tired but he didn’t freeze because I had lots of layers on him. I also took snacks and books to keep him occupied during down time. He also had a wonderful time playing with the other kids there (especially the girls!). I think someday he’ll probably thank me for taking him and letting him meet Robert Duvall, one of the greatest actors of our time (just go watch The Apostle again if you don’t believe me).