Sunday, 28 December 2008

A Bunch of Amateurs

I read the other day that after watching A Bunch of Amateurs at the annual Royal Film Performance in November, the Queen enjoyed it so much that she asked for a DVD of it to be screened at Sandringham over Christmas. I worked as an extra (a doctor) during the Burt Reynolds starring film's last day of shooting in Surrey, England. There was that end of term feeling on set, actors on their last scenes and crew looking forward to a break after a succession of long days filming in the English winter. Here is my diary entry for that day.

Wednesday 19th March 2008
Filmed A Bunch of Amateurs as a doctor. Call time was 9.15am at Chertsey- not a good time as I'll hit the rush hour traffic on the motorway. Thought I'd better leave early so left home at 6.00 and got to the unit base far too early-7.30pm. No one was there apart from a night watchman, so read and semi-dozed in my car. Not feeling 100%- maybe its a cold I'm going down with. People started arriving at 9.00 and had breakfast at 10.00. I was careful with what I ate as I didn't want to have bacon, tomato, baked beans etc staining my doctor's white coat, as happened when I was previously a doctor. (When filming the comedy Green Wing as a doctor, to the costume department's great displeasure, I managed to squeeze the contents of the inside of a doughnut all over my white coat!) I didn't really feel like a fried breakfast anyway so went for a more healthy option.
I was booked to do one scene. I was hoping it would be with Burt Reynolds- its not everyday one gets to work with (even if its only sort of working with) a Hollywood screen legend. However he wasn't in my scene, but I did get to see him being escorted to the make up trailer and it was difficult to pretend to be looking in his direction in a casual way, rather than staring at him like a stalker. After being an extra for several years I'm quite blase about seeing famous people, but this is BURT REYNOLDS we are talking about.
My scene was with Samantha Bond whom I told another extra was Miss Moneypenny in James Bond, then afterwards wondered if I was getting her confused with someone else as she shares the same surname as 007. Whilst Samantha Bond has a conversation with Richard James who is playing a doctor, I was asked to go up to another extra, who was a patient sitting in the waiting room, mime to her 'come with me' and lead her away (presumably to my consulting room). My bit in the background seemed to go OK, the assistant director didn't ask me to do anything different, which was a good sign. I wonder if the scene will be there on the final edit, it didn't seem to be a particularly important one, though because I was concentrating on my oh so important bit (ha ha!), I didn't take in what the two actors were conversing about.
I got wrapped at 3.15, had lunch (now I've changed out of my white doctor's coat, I was able to relax and not care how much of the meat and gravy lands on me) & got home at 5.10 missing the traffic. Still feeling iffy so crashed out in front of the TV and watched the football.

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