Saturday morning we piled four of us in the vehicle and headed down to the VFW to check out the Cattle Call for 'The Fighter,' the Micky Ward life story film that's going to star Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, among others. Right away, we saw a ton of commotion centered around 190 Plain, with lots of preened jocks with sleeveless shirts wearing cabbie hats, put-together blondes with headshots and inch-thick acting resumes, and guys with pained expressions to go with their trucker hats and flavor saver goatees. None of us had anything resembling a headshot or acting resume, and we were all about equally intersted in grabbing breakfast as we were in trying out for a movie.
When we saw the line snaking all the way from the Hall entrance down Eaton Street, and then ALL THE WAY down Montreal Street to Main (if you need Google Earth to picture this it will help sink it in, but suffice to say it seemed nearly a half-mile long), we just collectively said, "Forget it," and went to Wal-Mart to get a present for a recent GLTHS grad (Congratulations, Danny!)
Anyway I was back home later that afternoon in a half-nap when another friend of ours called, said the line had died down, and was heading over. Weighing that against collecting more drool on the couch pillow and dribbling potato chips down my chin, I decided to go for it.
Sure enough, the line had died down considerably. There were still plenty of self-serious types in the crowd, but the non early-bird crew seemed a little bit more likely to have gotten there by accident. We had one picture and nary a resume between the three of us, and we promptly got into the short line to be herded into the hall.
After some quick "hurry up and wait" operations, we finally got told to queue up into a huge line to get ready to hand off our information packets, which included names, numbers, and e-mail addresses. In a mostly civil fashion, all the folks in the hall got into two lines where we spent all of exactly five seconds actually meeting someone from Boston Casting.
Our "moment of glory" consisted of us being asked whether we'd want to be cast as a trainer, fighter, or extra. Our info sheets were then put into one of three piles and we went on our merry ways.
No "Romeo, Where Art Thous." No "You talkin' ta me?!" a la Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver. Somewhat of a letdown for those who looked like they'd spent hours getting ready for the 'event' and then sort of slinked away seeming disappointed by the whole affair.
What I sensed from the beginning was that they probably need to stick fannies in the seats for the pro-am fights, background patrons for the bar scenes, and other general things that movie extras are used for.
If anyone in Greater Lowell is reading this and is still interested in being an extra in The Fighter, the good news I have to report here is that you probably didn't miss a thing if you weren't at the VFW Saturday. You could probably still contact Boston Casting and go for your shot at glory as a guy clapping or war-whooping at a Golden Gloves fight.
You just have to be available with just one day's notice to spend an entire day waiting around for a fifteen-minute shot at acting that might involve walking down a street, sipping a beer, or enthusiastically cheering under the guise of 'acting natural.'
And someday, you can put your grandkids on your knee, cue up your vintage The Fighter DVD from the year 2010, fast forward to 1:09:12, freeze the frame, and say "That's my elbow!" as one of the protagonists pushes past you at a bus stop.