My wife Katie has been in all kinds of films in New York and Los Angeles. From smaller roles doing background work to more involved supporting roles she has done a lot. She is even the star and host of our “Sleep Here Now,” videos you can see on Associated Content and Somebody’s Basement. Here is what she had to say about five films she’s worked on recently.
“Green Lantern”: This as yet unreleased comic book film starring Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern) and Blake Lively (Carol Ferris) and was shot in Los Angeles. Green Lantern was one of the more common plights for background actors. She was in an office scene and they were shooting pick up shots. “None of the leads were there,” said my wife, “every desk packed with paperwork and stuff, and it was just an empty office.” Even though there were no stars present, the dressings of the set were really impressive. “Every cubicle had its own personality; props really did a great job.” She was there for seven hours and the takeaway for the film will be around 3 seconds when an elevator passes by her floor.
“Iron Man II”: A much more prolonged shoot, Iron Man II went on for 13 days. There were “500 extras to start,” a number which was quickly slashed by more than half. “Jon Favreau (the director) was really cool and he’d say ‘nice work.'” Mickey Rourke (Whiplash) on the other hand, was something of a primadonna. Most of his stunt work was done by his stunt double. Robert Downey (Iron Man) did a lot of his own stunts. “They fed us well,” she said, “it was in a big aircraft carrier and was cool to see how the special effects got put together. Interesting also to watch tech guys and Jon Favreau “go to work” on a Rolls Royce” (they basically destroyed a really expensive car with hammers).
“That’s What She Said”: “That’s What She Said” was shot on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. This shoot was exciting because she got to work with the director Carrie Preston, and get specific direction from her. “That shoot was very fast;” partly because of the budget and partly because it was in New York City.”That’s What She Said” stars Anne Heche.
“Nowhere to Go But Up (Happy Ending)”: When my wife shot this film it was still called “Happy Ending” (though the title would later be changed to “Nowhere to Go But Up”) and the shoot began at 3:30 in the morning on the Lower East Side of New York City. The crew didn’t begin shooting anything until 6am. “I had a lot of interaction with the Assistant Director and it was a lot more sitting than shooting. We only shot for around an hour.” Audrey Tautou stars in the film which only ended up getting released in France. For Christmas a couple years ago I got the DVD from France and a DVD player which could read the disc. The scene that my wife was in actually ended up getting cut from the film. “That was pretty sad,” she said. “At least when the shot makes the final cut people believe that you were in it and don’t think that you were lying.”
“Valentine’s Day”: “Valentine’s Day” was another big shoot which was shot in Los Angeles at Hollywood Forever cemetery. My wife got there at 7pm and didn’t get out until 6am. “There were so many extras there that they spent a lot of time in holding,” said my wife. “Shirley Maclaine was really cool,” the day my wife was there was Mclaine’s last day of shooting. “Topher Grace was there and was really into his character; he didn’t really interact with anyone.” Director Gary Marshall had all these extras running in the cemetery and told them after one take to reset and “Run in like zombies,” all 300 of the background extras did a “Thriller-Walk” into the cemetery. Marshall said that the Zombie Walk might make it onto the DVD outtakes.
I still think my wife’s best work has been on our “Sleep Here Now” videos but I don’t pay as well as the big studios. Until later then my wife will just need to continue to ply her trade in the pictures the best way she is able.