Shortly after moving to Bartlesville, a major motion picture (that is still without a title) starring Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Rachel Weisz, and Rachel McAdams began filming and locals were clawing at the opportunity to be an extra or help on set. I, of course, was no exception.
I was unable to attend the casting call because we traveled down to Texas that particular weekend but the kids and I were able to watch Ben and another actress film a scene downtown one evening. Yes, we totally stalked him and I have the pictures to prove it!
Fast forward to this past May. A friend of mine who did attend the casting call and was on their email mailing list, received a notice about another motion picture being filmed close-by and that there was a scene being filmed in which they needed about 300 extras. This email also mentioned that the movie was starring Jackson Rathbone and immediately, my friend knew to forward the email to ME.
For those of you who don't know, Jackson plays "Jasper" in the "Twilight Saga" movies. He was also in "The Last Airbender" (as well as other movies), is in a band called 100 Monkeys, and is one of my very favorite celebrities. I've met him a couple of times and I've also seen him in concert. I just simply adore him. So, the idea of being an extra in one of his movies was just too tempting to pass up!
The email said the scenes to be filmed were going to take place at a rodeo and to just show up. Sounded perfect to me....except I've never liked rodeos but I was willing to make an exception for Jackson. Being the awesomely cool mom that I am, I also asked the kids if they'd like to go with me. Not surprisingly, Jack said "No" and Mackenzie said "Yes." It also helped that one of the other stars of the movie was Bailee Madison, who Mac knew from "Wizards of Waverly Place."
We got up and left early on a Sunday morning and drove about 2 hours to where the scenes were being filmed. We were supposed to wear "rodeo" attire, if we had it, but we didn't, so we did the best we could. After waiting for about 30 minutes, the crowd of extras was herded, I mean moved, to the rodeo stands. There were 3 sections of bleachers and we were asked to take a seat in any of the sections. Mac and I found two spots at the top of the first section that I was very happy with because it had a board I could lean up against. We were there for only a few minutes when one of the staff members asked everyone on our row to come back down. He then weeded out those who were wearing "rodeo attire" and placed them back in the stands. Mac and I, along with a few others, were moved all the way over to the third section. I was bummed at first, especially since they focused a lot of the filming on that first section, but, honestly, I was just happy to be there.
We filmed many scenes of the crowd "reacting" to different rodeo scenarios. The main guy dealing with us (not sure if he was an assistant director or what) would run around the rodeo grounds and give us clues on what we were supposed to be reacting to. He'd run quickly and throw his hands in the air and we'd scream, cheer, clap, stand, whistle, wave our cowboys hats, etc. If he fell, we booed and acted disappointed. There were even times when he pretended that he was doing a dangerous trick and we acted like we were scared for his safety. We also showed our relief when he completed his amazing "trick" safely. It was really fun and I loved seeing so many "regular" people in the crowd getting into character.
On a side note: I did become annoyed with the "AD" once when he was talking to the people in my section. He said, "Hey, did you know that Jasper is in this movie? You know, Jasper...from Twilight?" Dude, the man's name is Jackson, not Jasper! You're working with him; get his name right! But I digress....
Speaking of Jackson, being the Twitter addict that I am, I already knew from Jackson's tweets that morning, that he wasn't on set yet but that he was on his way. I was constantly looking around, trying to see if he was there yet but, unfortunately, he wasn't filming any scenes during the day.
After a couple of hours of filming on one side of the rodeo arena, we were herded to the opposite side to film some more. This time we were treated to a brief show by The Sweethearts of the Rodeo, which was really good. Like I mentioned before, I've never been a fan of the rodeo but I can appreciate the talent that those ladies have when working with their horses and putting on a rodeo show. Also, just to clarify, this movie isn't about bull riding or calf roping or things like that. It's about trick-riding. We also filmed many scenes with Bailee (and her stunt person) doing tricks.
After being there for many hours, Mac and I decided it was time to go home, like most of the extras. A few were staying to shoot some night scenes and we could have too, but Mac had school the next day and we still had 2 more hours of driving ahead of us. After leaving the bleachers, we stood in line to fill out paperwork so that we could get paid. That's right, we got paid for this! Woot! The line was right outside a big tent where the cast and crew were eating their dinner and guess who was there eating! Yep, Mr. Rathbone himself was sitting at one end of a table while James Cromwell, who is also in the movie, was at the other end. I was so excited!
The extras were warned not to take pictures of any kind while on set and to not bother the cast. Being the good girl that I am on most days, I obeyed my instructions and didn't take ONE picture. Not one! I also wasn't about to bother any one while they were eating, celebrity or not. I personally think that is incredibly rude but it didn't stop others from interrupting Jackson's meal and asking for a picture or autograph. Of course, he was gracious and did what the fans asked for, smiling the whole time. I mean, he IS a Southern gentleman after all.
I also knew that I'd be seeing him again soon (which I will blog about in a few weeks), so I was just fine stepping back and observing him do something "normal", like eating.
After we were finished with our paperwork, Mac and I walked to the car and started to leave. I had just put the car in "drive" when I looked up and saw Jackson walking back to his trailer! He was right there in front of us all by himself...a fangirl's dream! Again, though, I behaved myself. My mom couldn't believe I didn't use that opportunity to talk to him but I'm pretty sure he would've started running if he saw my car heading his way, so I drove the other way, leaving the rodeo and Jackson behind.
Mac and I were exhausted, completely sunburned, and my butt hurt for days after sitting in bleachers for 7 hours but it was worth every minute.
The movie we worked on is called "Cowgirls n' Angels" and will be released sometime next year. Whenever you see the rodeo scenes, look for a bright turquoise shirt and a green and blue plaid shirt in the crowd...that's Mackenzie and me!
The Ben Affleck movie is still being called "Untitled Terrence Malick Project" and is also supposed to be released next year. You can read about both movies and see a few pictures on www.imdb.com.