Saturday, October 18, 2003

Reversible Extra

With the customary half-day notice, I arrived on the film set for the mini-series "Reversible Errors". The shoot takes place at the airport; I'm to play an airport manager. So here I am in my dark suit and, thanks to my wife (an airline employee), I'm sporting cufflinks and an old union pin from two now-defunct airlines. Although no one will ever see them, I'm a walking "homage".

At this precise moment, the wardrobe mistress commented on how perfect was my airline pin. I read her the last half paragraph.

By the way, we'll be working with Tom Selleck today. Tomorrow too. The show also stars William H. Macy, but the call sheet today doesn't list his name for either day.

Hey, it's free haircut day! The hair and make-up people will be giving me a tidy-up haircut and patching the hole that the errant razor made (a reversible error, y'might say...). Plus, there's a free breakfast burrito. And coffee. And juice, treats, lunch and supper. As I may have mentioned earlier, it can be very difficult staying thin on a film set.

The casting agent and the wardrobe staff are the same as from the Elizabeth Smart Story, so aside from meeting Tom Selleck today, I'm hoping to get my shirt and pants back. Oops, no such luck. It's a different wardrobe van after all.

"Tom's traveling," Luke, 3rd AD, announces.

It's the voice you hear first, that rich, rumbling, cowboy voice, announcing his approach and it's somehow more imposing than his 6'4" frame. The voice. He appears from around the corner, exiting the stairwell to the set, light, brown corduroy sports jacket, dark brown slacks the colour of his trademark moustache, and eyes that look tired somehow. He looks for his chair, and then his co-star for the scene we're about to do. He's "desperate to run lines." His words. In that voice. He retires to a corner to rehearse and here I am in mine, opposite, standing amid the lights, just out of frame, trying to keep out of the way. Ready for my cue to cross.

Tom enters the set and asks for someone to prompt lines for the first few rehearsals.

I'm to walk across the frame with one file folder, crossing outside the glass office where the main action takes place. Later in the dialogue, I cross back with a different file folder reading it, going back to the place I started from.

There's another actor here in the scene, Jim Rebhorn . The call sheet lists him as "James", he introduces himself as "Jim". He looks like an actor I've seen in Star Trek, and between takes, I ask him. He chuckles and tells me, no, he's never been in Star Trek. D'oh!

The scenes go quickly. Whatever the concerns might have been over dropped lines don't materialize into extra takes. A couple three runs through and we're moving on.

In between setting up shots, Tom runs lines, discusses the scene with the director and chats with some of the extras, memorizing their names.

Later, I'm in an office that's being repainted for a future scene. The painters are working just barely out of frame while we shoot. The office looks out on the runway, and during a pause, a blue and white helicopter flies in and makes a nifty landing in an area reserved for private planes.

"That's T.C. in his new ride," I say and the painter and I giggle quietly.

Still To Come

  • Eric Neilsen and his brother Leslie
  • Sea Ward and Valerie Bertenelli (but not at the same time)
  • Even more news!!

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