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I Was an EXTRA

Updated on September 2, 2013

from YouTube

Really I was. Most of my hard work, in Atlanta GA, not in ‘the Hollywood,' ended up on the cutting room, floor, however, and probably should have been, but a few of my clips made it to the silver screen. They made me immortal, so to speak, and it’s been so long ago that it’s harder now to convince anybody I was really an EXTRA. Yes, that is me, there, in the courtroom, really, look! I look like a stalker behind Malisa Tomi. (She does have a nice.....) They used me quite often, and in different scenes as well. Toward the end of the month they had me shave my mustache and they used my car. 'My Cousin Vinny' was the longest I've worked on a set.

Being on a movie set is exciting and will give you a whole different perspective on the movie business, a truer one. You will look at movies in a different way. One thing for sure; it will break your heart if you make 'stars' more than human and you put them high up on your reverent list. Yes, they do all the 'disgusting' things you do. The only difference is their paycheck and they stuck to their goals they wanted to achieve to get this paycheck. And take it from an ex-extra; the acting profession is the hardest job you'll ever love. The good successful actors deserve all the money and fame they can get, and more.

Channing Tatum said when he first met Jenna Dewan on the set of Step Up, she had "the worst breath." Now 'Us Weekly' is quoting a source close to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who said Brad is getting Angie breath mints called 'Eat Whatever' as a gag gift for Valentine's Day.

Ben Affleck, The critically-acclaimed actor/director reportedly suffers from “appalling halitosis” that (reportedly) forced his co-star Sandra Bullock give him a WHOLE BOX of mints on the set of their 1999 rom-com “Forces of Nature.”

Princess Diane, Before her tragic death, she was known to suffer from Bulimia and (reportedly) was so terrified of gaining weight that she refused to use toothpaste. This can’t be life.

My first taste of the movies was captivating. My first was a hulk hogan movie I'll think of. Soon after that I was on the set of 'Love Potioned #9' where I fell in love with Sandra Bullock, and she looked terrible. (in costume) Our eyes met, she smiled and said hi, and so did I, and I continued down Peachtree Street ......and I regret I kept walking. Did Sandra remember me? I kid myself.

Not only in seeing first hand how movies are made as I observed in the prior movies I’ve worked on -All of Me, Carolina Skeletons, and Freejack, and the awful low pay that extras make, but meeting the actors and having lunch with them was a real thrill. Or at least one or two of them were nice enough, and got off their ‘high horse’ and socialize with the mere extras.

Stars that started as an EXTRA

Brad Pitt

He started off in Hollywood as an extra. He also played a chicken for one of the fast food places. Still he was sending his picture in for work as is recommended in getting work.

Jim Carrey

By many accounts he started as an extra. He was also a comedian. They did say that he seemed just like anyone else there when he was an extra. I did see him working as an extra and he is not all that funny without seeing him on film but he is ok. I was supposed to react to him doing something to the garbage in Liar Liar. It didn't get me anything special and I think it wasn't in the movie.

Bruce Willis

I had also heard that he was an extra at first. There are some accounts of him reacting to the extras in quite and stand offish way. They were not supposed to look at him. I think the director also had them playing statues near him so they wouldn't misbehave which might happen. I think it was him or it may have been Carrey or both.

Jean Harlow

I saw the movie of her life and it had her being an extra. Extra work was probably different then in the 30's, but not that different. She stood there with other girls and was picked out for an extra part. She of course then went on to fame.

Clark Gable

He started as an extra in films. He was a ladies man. It was said that he did prefer the company of extras. It was in general because they were more genuine and real, not conceited as actors can be.

.... just like the characters he played in the film, and like all the character's he ever played; little stretch for him. And Tomei, who won a Oscar for her performance, and well deserved, wasn’t far behind him and his holy New York movie star attitude. But to her credit she has done quite a bit of ‘stretching’ since than. And she did greet us extras with a smile on our first day, more than what Pesci and ‘whats his name’ ...... did. I’ll think of it in a moment. Whatever happened to him? Oh yea, Ralph Martio. The kid in the Karate Kid.

One actor rose above the rest ....

  .... not necessarily for his acting capabilities, but rather for his kindness, sincerity and his genuine friendliness. And I wasn’t alone in this observance, fellow extras felt the same way about him. Having lunch with him I forgot who he was, and his stature. There wasn’t an actor and an extra sitting there enjoying the catered meal; there was just two people there, fellow workers just enjoying the break from 'work.'

The actor was Fred Gwynne

...and I was privileged to be with him in his last movie. Remember him? The one in ‘Car 54 where are you' and ‘The Munsters?” But not known to many people; he also wrote children's books. I remember he had a pile of them there that he was selling and autographing. I regret not having bought one. He was a real genuinely nice guy, one that is very hard to find in his business. One that hasn’t let stardom and money alter who he was before he found himself in the lime light. Now, for me, that takes real talent. Because that personal scene is unscripted, unedited, unwritten and only directed and produced by one person. The same person only aloud to see it in their own private theater. We're all an 'extra' in that movie.

I imagine there are others out there; maybe Jeff Bridges, Woody Harrelson, Roy Scheider - (who was my father’s fraternity brother at F&M College) or Meryl Streep seem that way, but I haven’t met them and wouldn’t know for sure. I haven’t been on a movie set or met any actors, or movie stars in twenty years.

“Why do you want to be an actor?” Mr Gwynne asked me, with his turned up nose.

The famous Hollywood sign was built in 1923 for a real estate development in Beachwood Canyon. The sign originally read "Hollywoodland" and cost $21,000 to build. The letters, 30 feet wide and 45 feet tall were originally lighted by 4000 light bulbs. However, maintenance was discontinued in 1939 and in 1949 the "Land" portion of the sign was removed. Over the years, the sign became terribly rundown. Finally, in 1978 the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce restored it with the help of private donations.


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    • johnwindbell profile image

      johnwindbell 8 years ago from - the land of beards and buggies

      .... and it was on last night as well. Thank you so much for noticing me. You're not going to be a stalker are you?

    • profile image

      mrslisae 8 years ago

      After reading this. I went to youtube and spotted you before I realize you'd posted the same video..How neat!