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My boyfriend, Mike, spent Wednesday working as an extra on the set of the film State of Play, with Ben Affleck and Russell Crowe. He says it felt like detention.
“I thought it was cool at first that I was cast as a ‘delivery guy,’ as opposed to being just another passerby, but in the end, I was just a douchebag wearing a UPS uniform.”
He had to get to Ben’s Chili Bowl, where the scene was being shot, at 7:15 a.m., which for us is the middle of the night. He was shipped in a mini-bus “people mover” to the “staging area” on New York and G, where he got uniformed up in his UPS browns. The only other extra wearing a costume was a Screen Actors’ Guild member who had come all the way from Jersey for his shot at stardom.
Then they waited five hours for something to happen, snacking on Goldfish crackers.
When their big moment finally came, they got to walk down the sidewalk – pushing an empty dolly – across the street from Ben’s. Three times. The Jersey UPS guy had negotiated a better route for them to walk, so they would be more clearly seen on camera. He vaguely insisted on being the one on in front.
The SAG members sat in the same tent, in the same cattle call, but they were getting paid twice as much and got first dibs on the good food for lunch. They sat around bragging about the other movies they had barely appeared in.
Mike didn’t get to see Ben Affleck or Helen Mirren but he did get a few glimpses of Russell Crowe, who he said looked (in his role as an investigative reporter for the fictional Washington Globe) like a slightly healthier Christopher Hitchens.
From what he can gather, the scene involves Russell Crowe going in to Ben’s Chili Bowl, ordering a chili cheese dog, and then something happens involving a woman they’d made up to look more or less like she was dying of herpes, and Crowe almost gets hit by a car, and in the meantime his briefcase disappears.
So when State of Play comes out and you go see it at the Gallery Place Regalplex, and that scene comes on, look for the UPS guy you can’t really see. That’s my boyfriend, the movie star.—Tanya Snyder