Friday, August 15, 2008

I Was an Extra on "Brotherhood" Yesterday!

About 5 months ago I Googled “Rhode Island casting companies” and up popped LDI Casting which handles casting for the Showtime series Brotherhood along with many other movies, commercials and extra work in Rhode Island. I was intrigued by the possibility of doing something like that so I registered. I input my physical stats and uploaded a headshot. I never really thought I’d hear from anyone because I’m not a professional actor. Two days ago, to my surprise, I received a call about some background work for Brotherhood, which is shooting locally until late October.

I wasn’t totally sure what my role would be even after I received the email with my call time. I was told I would be “Land Worker #14” and I was to bring my work boots. Once I arrived at the crew facility, I quickly realized that I was in a different world. We were finally told what we’d be wearing and it wasn’t looking good because it was very hot and very humid. I had to don a full Hazmat Suit complete with facemask, hardhat, goggles and thick rubber gloves. Apparently our group of extras was going to be cleaning up a mock mercury spill in Providence Harbor. Man it was hot... have I said that yet?

Once we finished with fittings we were led to a place they call “holding”, which feels like a holding pen for cattle. In came the call, time to head to the set. Now I’m really getting excited. We loaded into a van and headed over to our set, which was along the East Providence Bike Path right next to the Squantum Club. It was amazing seeing the inner workings of Hollywood production. Ethan Embry and Jack McGee were the two actors in our scene. Unfortunately, Jason Isaacs, who plays Michael Caffee was not there. As we stood by during rehearsal it became more apparent that we’d be out on the rocks down by the water.

If you’ve ever seen the movie E.T., you can get a good idea of what we looked like in our Hazmat Suits. As I walked by Ethan Embry, I asked him if he wanted to switch roles and he asked me if I meant just for today, or for the rest of the shoot? It was really nice to have a little interaction with him. He seemed really cool.

The extras director put all of us into place and gave us a little direction as to what we should be doing. I was up on a cliff overlooking the “spill”. It was a little slippery but I was glad to be up there because of the very mild breeze. The shoot went very smoothly and we really only had to do about 10 takes, but in the suit if felt like 10 hours. We finished up and immediately headed back to craft services to have lunch and cool down. Some of the guys started to succumb to the heat. A big guy wrapped in plastic is a bad combination.

Lunch was awesome and everything I expected. I took my time eating and made sure I was one of the last people to finish so I could soak up the experience. As I headed out to the lot I made my way by the actors’ trailers and I came across Jack McGee. I stopped and told him how much I like his work on Rescue Me. Jack was great. He asked my name and thanked me for being part of the production. He has a new fan in me.

I’m so happy to have been lucky enough to have done this and I hope to do more extra work in the future. Make sure to look for me when you watch the Brotherhood. I’ll be the guy in the yellow suit.

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