Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Read All About It.

So I'm extra-ing. I'm in a room that stinks of menthol with a couple of sad faced middle-aged guys (middle-aged even by my standards). My role is "office-worker-diner" and I fully expect to be making tedious small talk over a glass of cold tea. Some of the other extras have turned up, they have brought "costumes". I'm glad somebody is taking this seriously. Actually EVERYBODY is taking this seriously. They all look flustered and terrified and they never stop running about. They tend to be quite thin. This is quite weird.

The actress has turned up. She's a bone thin red head and is gracious to everyone, bobbing around smiling and grinning at all the extras. Actually everyone smiles at me. This is because I have grey hair, a good suit and I'm chatting to Susan the producer. I look like I might be money! I'm not.

Aidan Gillen turns up. I'd forgotten he was in this but there he is strolling about with his famous face on. He's in the Wire! He's in Wake Wood! I've seen him performing analingus on a minor in "Queer as Folk". He's pretty charming. In fact everyone is. They're all really nice. It's not like the movies at all.

The bloke next to me, an extra WITH A LINE, won't stop going on about "Withnail and I". None of the other extras have seen it.

My dining partner turns out to be the casting director in a guise. She is a woman called Jude. Every time we go out of shot, which is often, we are very peripheral, I'm stricken with a need to say "now you're Jude the Obscure". But I don't because we are miming speaking to each other. Well I am. She pisses herself laughing every time the cameras roll. It's a great ice-breaker.

There are about twenty takes of the one scene that I'm in and everyone fluffs every line every time. I expect they can do something in the edit. The extras don't even really appear to be acting. I expect that's difference between acting acting and movie acting. Certainly they're playing "small".

The drama certainly escalates after I leave. The next scene is a car accident and the venue for the shoot, for some reason, is a notorious loyalist South Belfast enclave called "The Village".* There is trouble. Gangs appear, rocking the vehicles, ripping off wing mirrors, putting through windows. The trouble escalates and several of the extras are beaten up, one of them so badly that the last thing he hears before losing consciousness in the bin he has been dumped in is "leave him I think he's dead."

I never see this side of Belfast. Maybe I've been lucky. There were the Short Strand riots just after I moved over and then a short spate of bloodless bombings,(not bloodless in intent, mind). But generally I feel safer in Belfast than I did in London. So this sort of fucking idiocy is always a useful, and timely reminder that there are still blood-thirsty, indoctrinated morons out there willing to cut you to pieces on the trumped up charge of your religion. A film company brings a camera crew to your place, so what do you do? Wreck it, kick the shit out of it, make sure they never come back. It's not as if Belfast, dying on its arse and useful mainly as New York's stunt double, needs the film industry.

If Game of Thrones fucks off this year, you clever bastards, what will you watch on your hooky plasma-screens. Morons.

*This was an unbelievably stupid idea, however. What the fuck were they thinking?


  1. Take it the location scout's been sacked?

    Seriously, horrible - hope everyone's ok. We had very minor NI links in my disjointed family years ago - my then step-father's son was in the Maze; my mum went on a visit. (I've just remembered an uncomfortable moment in the George Robey too - a collection coming round "for the cause". Awkward...)

    And please, give tips to the likes of the extras in stuff like EastEnders et al - over-animated seems the modus operandi in the genre.

  2. The production is apparently lumbering on, deadlines, people, but I'm not sure the bin kid is going to be okay. Certainly I dont suppose he'll be renting the film for a while to relieve his five seconds of fame.

    I really do see nothing of this sort of shit and my friends here, though they tend to be writers, artists or film camera men, straddle the divide, as it were. But then again I guess they're not braindead feral lunatics. Not all of them at any rate.