Andrew and Jean, aspiring extras
The headline in the Milwaukee Journal read, "Great Faces Sought for Depp Film." What’s this? The Johnny Depp? Yes, you heard it right. Johnny Depp will be in Wisconsin filming "Public Enemies," a film set in the 1930′s with Johnny as John Dillinger and they were casting for extras. I thought about it for about 30 seconds before I realized I would have to stand outside in 20 degree weather for hours in period clothing.
Well, my darling son, Andrew, and his girlfriend, Jean, braved the cold. According to Andrew, the line moved slow, went down three blocks and then around the corner. They couldn’t see where it ended and were fine until the sun went down. Then it was unbearably cold. Everyone in line seemed really nice and the people around them were talking as if they have been extras in other movies before. It was so cold that when they got to the FRONT of the line where they handed out the applications, their hands couldn’t even hold the pen to fill it out. Unfortunately, they weren’t picked. (Which I don’t understand at all because they look adorable)
Then I met author Beth Watson at the WisRWA meeting and she was talking about her experience "auditioning" for the movie. In her words:
Rather than anxiously awaiting “the call” from an editor or agent, I am hoping to receive one shortly informing me that I will be starring with Johnny Depp in the upcoming movie "Public Enemies," which begins production here in Wisconsin this next week. Okay, it really wouldn’t be a “starring” role, more of a “non-speaking-blend-into-the-background extras role.” The perfect role for me since should I come within a half mile of Johnny, I would be incapable of uttering one single coherent word.
Let me assure you—as I have my dear hubby—my purpose here is one of research necessity, NOT to stalk Johnny Depp. He was the muse for the hero in my latest novel—a Bohemian puppeteer living in Paris. As any writer knows, thorough research and feeding one’s muse are critical to ensure a well-written book.
Two weeks ago, I was stuck in Utah on business when I learned the casting call for movie extras was being held in Oshkosh on Saturday. Already Thursday, I spent every free moment I had frantically scouring the web for 1930s period attire, only to find items three sizes to big, unavailable, or perfect but at a vintage shop located in New Zealand or the U.K.! I flew home Friday night a bit disheartened, but not defeated.
Saturday morning, I zipped threw the doors of Target at 8a.m. and purchased a set of hair curlers so I could attempt the “combed out curled hairstyle” requested by the casting director. After a quick lesson in the art of setting curlers, and improvising with a dark plum overcoat and retro fake fur scarf I luckily had on hand, my husband whisked me off to Traeger Middle School in Oshkosh—an hour and a half north of Milwaukee.
Upon arrival, I refused to be intimidated by the number of aspiring models and actresses presenting professionally airbrushed photos, or the masses of people dressed in period attire, for I quickly noticed I possessed something many of them didn’t. I’d recently turned forty! A fact I hadn’t celebrated until that very moment. As I gazed gleefully around at my competition, I estimated that seventy percent were in their early thirties or younger, and twenty percent were over fifty. My age group was far from well represented. Finally, a point in my favor.
Two hours later, I was herded into a room with about a hundred and fifty other hopefuls, and the casting director informed us that they were looking for women who were a size twelve or smaller (check), under 5’8” (check—I’m 5’3”) and pale skinned (check—haven’t tanned since 1994). After holding up a sheet of paper that read “number 2000+” for my “one” mug shot, I left with my fingers crossed and the hope that I would be receiving a call in the near future.
Johnny Depp (in white scarf) on location in WI
I’m still waiting on the call, but like any resourceful writer, I have Plan B in the works. I am off to Columbus, WI where filming begins March 17th, armed with binoculars, a step stool (remember I’m only 5’3”) and an 8 x 10 glossy of Johnny Depp. Oh, and of course, my writing journal for jotting down research notes. After all, that’s the main purpose of my trip.
Wish me luck!
Well, even though Beth wasn’t picked either, she is in Columbus and has let me know that got within 20 feet of JD. She mingled with the production crew and they let her hold the Action! clapboard. And what would you do to be in a Johnny Depp movie?
Bottom Line: Johnny, if you’re reading this, next time film during warmer weather and I’m so there.