I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later. We are within a relatively short distance from 'Hollywood North' after all. Ten episodes of a new television show are going to be made here in our town as well as in other locations around the Fraser Valley. The park on one side of our main street has been transformed by a long row of false-fronted buildings in order to give the appearance of shops on both sides of the street in a 'bucolic small town in Idaho'. Filming is due to begin in the first week of September and happen here intermittently over the next several months.
|A temporarily widened sidewalk was poured as well.|
|The park's flowers bloom behind the framing for the false storefronts|
Other filming for movies has happened here in recent years as well, a crash scene from the third X-Men film probably being the most internationally noteworthy. Of course, First Blood, starring Sylvester Stallone was filmed in Hope, a town not too far from here in the early 1980's, and they have been milking that noteriety ever since. There was even a huge public outcry in that town when the district announced it was replacing the famous 'Rambo Bridge'. The popular ABC show Once Upon a Time is filmed in Steveston, which is also near Vancouver, and that little seaside community will probably never be the same. Of course, it remains to be seen whether the show being filmed here will enjoy the popularity of Once Upon a Time. Its director, M. Night Shyamalan has not enjoyed much success in recent years with his projects, but Matt Dillon, the star of the new show is already garnering much attention around here. He is the sort of actor who, in his younger cute-boy days, graced the covers and pin-up centerfolds of teen magazines such as Tiger Beat, but, fortunately, was taken quite seriously by the acting/directing community for his work in the film adaptations of S.E. Hinton's novels The Outsiders, Tex, and Rumble Fish and went on to star in notable films such as Drugstore Cowboy and later, Crash, There's Something about Mary, and Beautiful Girls.
When my youngest daughter found out that Wayward Pines was going to be filmed here, she immediately leaped to the conclusion that she would somehow be a part of it. She spent the last year taking acting classes with the performing arts school in our area, and I would say she has a fairly pronounced case of the acting bug. Last Saturday, we arrived a few minutes early to a casting call held in one of the conference rooms of a local hotel. Originally, I was not going to put myself in for an extras role, but in the end I decided to have my photo taken along with my daughter. If she was called back, I would have to accompany her during filming anyway, so why not give it a try? The worst that could happen would be that they would ask me to lose ten pounds. Or maybe twenty - Hollywood is Hollywood. The line-up was already out the door, but my daughter and I, along with everyone else, were given forms to fill out and a take-home information sheet outlining the requirements of extras. We met an older man we knew who was also trying out - his son works in the movie business and had encouraged him to come - and chatted with him while we waited. After about 45 minutes we were given a number and asked if we were mother and daughter. A short wait later, my daughter and I each held a sheet of paper with a large '70' printed on it, hers with an 'A' attached to it, and mine with a 'B' while we had our photos taken. The casting staff were friendly but expedient and we were moved along quickly to make room for number 71. As we went out through the doors of the conference room, we walked alongside the line-up, which extended by then to the side entrance doors of the hotel itself. People - the tall and the small, the old, the young and the middle aged, but not many children - had come from all around for the casting call and I was relieved we had decided to come when we had.
I imagine we will find out quickly if we are to be called back, with filming starting so soon. Extras are paid, but I have no idea how much. It must be enough to make it worth standing hours in line for. Or perhaps people see it as their way into the glamourous movie business. I am not at all sure if I want to be an extra. From what I have seen it involves a lot of 'hurry up and wait'. Each day, according to the requirement sheet, extras must arrive with three possible outfits for their role, and wearing the one they deem the best of the three. They must have their own touch-up makeup if they are women and have freshly washed and styled hair, pressed neutrally coloured clothing, as well as various choices of hats, scarves and handbags. That sounds like a lot of work for me, although I think I can manage the clean hair and the hats. My daughter only sees the positive side of the situation. She just wants to have the experience, and since we live only a few blocks from the film site, I don't mind accommodating her for the few days of filming per month. For her sake, I hope she is called back at least.
This morning, my daughter and I went for a walk downtown. I brought along my camera to capture the work-in-progress that is the fictional town of Wayward Pines, the setting of a mystery show involving Secret Service agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) after he is in a car accident and becomes trapped in a strange, but bucolic (there's that word again) town with no money, cell phone or I.D., and as he tries to leave he realizes he is immersed in a conspiracy. The place was buzzing with men and women dressed in hardhats, work boots and orange safety vests, with machinery, onlookers, and a general vibe of excitement and of working to deadline. Apart from the Fall Fair parade, Pioneer Avenue does not normally see so much action. Our town is, in fact, quite bucolic, and its citizens are not used to fighting for parking spaces along our main street - until now.
|Some of the architectural details are prettier than those on the|
real buildings across the street
|Parking is presently at a premium on weekdays|
|Our newspaper office will be transformed into a quaint coffee shop.|
Some pieces of playground equipment await their placement on the set.