How things got started pt. 2

After my “interview” Friday the 6th, several days went by with no word from the casting company.  If I was chosen I expected a call within a couple days since they were starting shooting the next week.  I had all but given up on the prospect until the following Thursday.

After a session in the computer lab assisting CS155 students I noticed I had a voice mail from the familiar number of Jamie from casting.  I dialed in and listened with excitement as she said I was wanted for a 2nd interview the next day at 10am.  I called her back and said I’d love to come.

I have a class at 10am, but it’s a laid back senior class I knew I could miss to go to round 2 of stand-in size-ups.  The interview was at their home base in a building in the middle of town.  I got there around 9:35, already taking to the idea that “in Hollywood, if you’re on time, you’re late.”  I walked in to the lobby and there was no one there…

I mean, there were people there, just not any that I recognized from before.  Not even any of the other stand-ins.  The place was very busy with crew members loading equipment into the building; lights, water, boxes and rubbermaid tubs of who knows what.  I started to get nervous so I called Jamie and left her a voice mail asking if I was in the right place.  Right after that, a girl I hadn’t seen before walked in with a similar lost look on her face.

“Are you here for the stand-in interview?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“Good, that makes it much more likely that I’m in the right place.”

A second girl, Sidney, who wasn’t at the first round of interviews came in right at 10.  We waited a few minutes until a guy named Ryan, whose job I don’t know but I’m guessing is Production Assistant, came in and told us he was there to handle us.  He did the paperwork and picture thing with the girls, then told us to hang out til Paul could come in.  Ryan kept getting phone calls and radio calls and frequently stepped outside to do business with other crew members.  The place was pretty chaotic.  Meanwhile, the three of us were still just sitting in the lobby with nothing to do but wait.

Around 10:30, Ryan walked back in and said to me, “hey man, I’m sorry… but do you think you can come back at 4 o’clock?”  Oh god.  Well, I already skipped class, might as well leave work early too.

“Sure, I’ll make it happen.  Same place?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll be here.”

I left MedAssets at 3:30 and drove back to the base of operations.  Sidney from that morning was there–she had been sent on her way to come back at 4 just like I was.  In the lobby there was even more hustle and bustle going on.  They were apparently filming a scene with child extras riding bikes, and at that moment all the children were gathering to get into a van to be shuttled to the set.  They were running around everywhere while their parents filled out paperwork and handled their legal documents with one of the girls from the casting company.  The children finally left, and a girl named Jen from the first stand-in interview came in to wait with us.

4:15 rolled around, then 4:20, and we had no word from any of the few people still coming and going as to whether our interview was going to happen or not.  At 4:30 Jen texted Jamie to ask what the deal was.  Jamie called back a short while later and apologized for our wait; shooting was taking longer than expected and Paul was going to come back to see us asap.

The room was silent again as we began another block of waiting.  The girls chatted here and there while I mostly meditated on what this would mean if I actually got picked.  At one point Rosamund Pike, the lead actress, walked in with a couple handlers and went to the fitting room.  I didn’t recognize her, but the girls did and we all got pretty excited.  Finally around 4:50, one of the casting girls came in and told us that Paul couldn’t get away from the set, so they were going to shuttle us out there to see him…

We climbed into an unmarked white van and drove out to a neighborhood off of one of the popular cycling routes outside of town.  It’s one of those places where the local doctors go to build their castles–a pretty good place for a movie set I guess.  They had a lounge area set up in someone’s garage at the end of a cul-de-sac.  There was a table of fruit and other snacks, and coolers of water.  I grabbed a banana and a drink and sat down with the girls at a table with a couple police officers.

The officers were real policemen, but they had also been hired to play cops as extras in a montage scene that was filmed before we got there.  At that point they were just hanging out waiting for shooting to end so they could leave.  They told us how it went down – they did ~40 takes of the same 5 second shot.  One of them talked with David Fincher for 10 minutes without even knowing who he was.  I was trying to contain my awe.  Nothing was official yet and each passing minute would leave a more devastating mark if I wasn’t chosen now.

Jen and Sidney were both in the running to stand in for the Greta character… I don’t know the actress playing her in the film yet.  They were both characters in their own right; Jen, the early 20’s girl working at the casino and studying psychology, and Sidney the medical professional with the 6 year old who was about to be disappointed at having to miss going to the fair that night.  They got along well.

The whole time we were there, Paul was in the corner of the garage engrossed in some work on his laptop.  He finally came over and apologized again for taking so much of our time.  (I didn’t care; I was enjoying myself.)  He went on to say something to Jen and Sidney but I don’t remember it at all, cause he turned to me and said “the D.P. likes you and I’m pretty sure you’re in since you look just like him.”  My mind raced in 10 different directions as he left the garage to go up the hill to the set.  At that point I had every right to celebrate but I held back until I had a “for sure” from somebody.

It was going on 6:00 when a couple vans pulled up and unloaded a bunch of extras.  People dressed in “MISSING – AMY DUNNE” t-shirts with Rosamund’s face on it.  They were covered in burs and had just come from shooting in an unmowed field up over the hill.  We talked with a few of them about what it was like, and then waited some more… more waiting, always waiting…

Ryan eventually ran down the hill (he ran up and down that hill around a dozen times while we were there, poor guy) and told us to come up to talk to Paul again.  We went up there and he asked Ryan to give us a crash course on the stand-in job.  Paul walked away for a minute and Ryan got through maybe one sentence before he came back and said “ok, so you know what stand-ins do now?”  We all laughed.  Then out of nowhere he looked at me and goes, “you’re good to go.”  …Yeeeaaaaa!!!!

“We still don’t know about you girls; we’ll have to call you either tonight or tomorrow with our decision.  Now, are all three of you available to drive to Carbondale Sunday night and work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, have Friday off, then work Saturday?”  Hum.  That is a crapload of school to skip… but I nodded, cause really, what would anyone have done at that point?  I’m GOOD TO GO here people!  The girls said yes as well, and with that, we were sent back down with the blessing to leave.

Of course, as soon as we got back to the green room area they blocked the street cause it was sunset and time to film the kids riding their bikes in the street… Ryan told us to just get in a van and tell the driver to pull out as soon as the road opened back up.  So we hung out in the van til 7:45 or so.  We heard snippets of what was going on on the set intermittently through the driver’s radio.  Apparently there was a group of cars trying to get into the subdivision to go to a birthday party.  Haha, suckers.  Finally, we heard those magic words, “THAT’S A WRAP.”  Crew members spilled down the hill, and Mollie the A.D. piled into our van along with a two kid extras’ grandmas and two camera guys.  She gave the driver the signal to get us the hell out of there, and off we went.

So here I am now, in Carbondale, having nearly finished the last of my homework that’s due this week… one more assignment to hopefully finish after breakfast tomorrow.  My professors seem to be cool with me missing class since I’ve notified them of the extraordinary circumstances and am able to do all my classwork remotely.  Well, except my physics lab Tuesday.  That one I will sacrifice to the homework gods in exchange for this experience.

At 8:30am I’m to report to the van fleet to be taken to the set.  For real.  As a person who is actually supposed to be there.  But now I must sleep.

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2 Responses to How things got started pt. 2

  1. Erika says:

    How exciting!!! I can’t wait to hear from you after your experience today. Soak up every moment! IJLU!!

  2. Jessie says:

    Love this! Keep it up!

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