And Then There Was An Explosion...

By | Monday, August 15, 2011 4 comments
OK, so I'm apparently an official extra in the Avengers movie now. Pedestrian #JX140. I went in and got fitted for my "costume" today and filed all the paperwork and whatnot, so they just need to film me now. (Which will actually be next week.)

I actually got to the wardrobe place a bit early. I was glad I left plenty of time because the parking garage I was supposed to use was blocked off, and I had to walk an extra block or two. But they had asked that I bring two outfits that they might start from: a suit and something classy and European.

They were fitting, I think, about 8-10 people at a time. They had called out a few extras specifically as firemen and police officers, and one guy was handling those one on one. The rest were split between men and women, and there was one designer for two or three people, with the head guy doing final approvals.

They had a HUGE storeroom of clothing to work from. Jackets and slacks and dresses and skirts of all manner of styles and colors. For some reason, they were having trouble finding something they liked for me. The 20-something guy who came in around the same time got a hip/trendy set-up in a half hour, and the 40-something guy who came in after I'd been in there a while also got kind of a hip/trendy thing, albeit skewed for a somewhat older man, also in about a half hour. They kept me in a suit. I tried 3 or 4 different suits and a half dozen different shirts before they found something they liked. It's a nice suit, but probably not a style I would've chosen for myself. (Of course, I never was much a fashion guru either.)

Which meant that I was there for a while, and was able to watch them work with different people. There were some things that struck me.

First, there seemed to be some minor, but ongoing, communications problems. Like the film crew not telling the casting folks that the parking garage would be closed off. Evidently, half of the extras got the wrong message, too, and didn't bring any of their own clothes. And I got the impression that the designers were expecting to clothe people for a different set of scenes today, so they were prepared for something else. I suppose to some degree that's to be expected, since every movie is going to have different requirements and many things are dependent on a host of others. The folks I all spoke with were professional about everything and very polite with all the extras, but you could tell they were a bit stressed.

I'm not 100% certain of what I'll be doing yet. The original message I got was that I was to be in the crowd for some art gallery/exhibit/showing, but being tagged as a "pedestrian" today (as opposed to "exhibit guest" or something) suggests I'll just be wandering around outside. I overheard the lead designer remind another that we would all be on our knees, and to remember that as a consideration. Coupled with the outfitting of rescue folks, that would suggest we'll be part of an action scene of some sort. They also said we should be prepared for night filming.

I'll point out something else I noticed, with all of the discussion last week about the racial castings of Spider-Man and Perry White. Everybody I saw getting fitted today was white. Granted, that was only 15, maybe 20 people total, but there was a homogeneity to everyone. Actually, not just in color, but in size/shape. Everyone, both men and women, stood about the same height and had pretty similar body proportions. No one was visibly overweight, except for the one firefighter I saw and you couldn't tell with him when he had the full firefighter costume on. Again, I saw at most maybe 5% of the extras for one scene, but it did catch my eye.

Oh, yeah, and then as I was leaving, I got called off the street, which had apparently been cordoned off differently than when I went in. A security guard said they'd be detonating some explosives in a minute, and I had to stay back. Sure enough, about a minute later, she's yelling for everyone to plug their ears while doing so herself. Some folks pulled out their cameras to take pictures, but I figured that if the guard is plugging her own ears, I'd better do so as well. So I don't have a picture of the actual fireball that flipped over a car onto a taxi or the couple that came running out from around the corner, but here's what it looked like a couple seconds later...
As I said, they'll be filming my scene next week. I'll try to post at least a few tidbits about the experience.
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Matt K said...

Where's that scene in the shot? Do you know the intersection?

I think that's the corner of Prospect and 9th

Matt K said...

Okay, I suppose it would be on 9th street, somewhere. Cheers.

Let me know if you want to grab a snack someplace some time when you're up here for your big break.

That'd be cool. I'll let you know once I get something approximating a schedule. (Should be Friday, I think.)