Sunday, March 04, 2007

My First Experience In A Hollywood Movie

What a day! After trying out to be a football player in December for the new George Clooney movie called "Leatherheads" and then getting a call on Tuesday from a casting director asking me if I'd still like to be in the film. Um, let me think...OH OKAY! :D

She said I needed to get sized for my costume on Thursday and then shoot the scene I am in on Sunday. "How long will it last," I asked her. "All day," she quickly answered. Oh...I'm cool with that!

So on Thursday I drive to the undisclosed location to be fitted for my costume and it is there that I learn I won't be portraying a football player. Instead, they said I was the one and only doorman in the movie. The what? Doorman...what's a doorman gonna do? Oh, he opens the door for people at the hotel. Now I get it!

Yep, that's right! Jimmy Moore is the doorman in "Leatherheads." The costume was quite exquisite with three layers involved, including a white shirt, vest, and huge blue-green overcoat that looked very classy if you ask me with a black tie, black shoes, and white gloves. Lookin' sharp, baby!

I received instructions to call a special super-secret telephone number on Saturday night to find out what time they would need my character for the scene they were shooting. There were three pages of detailed information explaining what was going to happen. The biggest theme they attempted to communicate was patience and focus on the day of the shoot. And by all means, try not to gawk when George Clooney walks on the set. LOL!

My appointed time to check in for the hotel scene was this morning at 10:30am. But since they had partitioned off two or three blocks around the area they were filming, I had some difficulty finding a place to park. I ended up parking in a bank parking lot that allows free parking on the weekends. Sweeeeet! So I start walking briskly towards the hotel not really knowing where to go when I got there.

Cameras, lights, and crew are everywhere and as I get closer I hear several women screaming, "George, George, look over here!" These were the Clooney groupies that would literally spend hours waiting on the outer edges of the set just to see their favorite movie star for a few brief seconds. It was kinda funny to watch, but that wasn't the end of it which I'll share about later.

After trying to figure out where I needed to be, finally I stopped and asked one of the crew members, "Where are the extras supposed to be?" He pointed me in the right direction and I ended up in the holding room to check in. "Are you Jimmy Moore, our doorman?" the beautiful young blonde woman asked. "Yes ma'am, that's me," I replied. She said she had just left me a message on my cell phone which I had turned to vibrate so I wouldn't forget and have it on during one of the scenes. That wouldn't be good in a 1920's period film now, would it?

After filling out some paperwork so I can get paid (WOW, can you believe they actually PAY people to do this?!), she told me to go get my costume and get dressed, get my hair styled, and then to makeup. Hoo boy, this is the real deal now! But there was only one problem--where the heck was the costume trailer, hmmm? I walked around with all these men and women dressed in 1920's garments and I'm still in 2007 street clothes.

Finally, I go back to the registration and ask if they can have someone show me where to pick up my costume and one of the crew members took me to where I needed to be. Hallelujah! It turns out I needed to be about 2 blocks over from the hotel, so there's no way I would have found that on my own.

After getting my costume, I rushed back to the men's dressing room which was filled with a bunch of guys changing out of their 21st century blue jeans and T-shirts into the kind of clothes worn by the men in the 1920's--semi-formal dress pants with an overcoat and top hat. There were two guys who had a similar costume to me portraying bell hops, but mine was the only doorman costume.

I was able to put all of it on except for the collar and the tie. I just couldn't figure it out on my own, so I headed to the hairstylist and makeup room. Each line was full of extras waiting to get primped and glamourized for the scene we would all be taping just a few hours later. It was all sinking in at that point that the time for our Hollywood movie experience was getting closer and the excitement was in the air.

Of course, for many of these extras, this was not their first time in "Leatherheads." A lot of them said they were in a previous scene on the football field on Friday and expressed how muddy it was out there since we had a nearly 3-inch downpour on Thursday. They were happy it was sunny and dry for today's shoot.

One of the explicit instructions we were given in our information sheet was this:


Yikes, I wouldn't be caught dead with a camera then! I didn't even want to risk it, so I left my digital camera at home. Well imagine my surprise when I see just about everybody click, click, clicking their cameras in seeming violation of this rule. When I inquired with one of them about it, they said the crew is fine with pictures in the holding area, but not on the set. Oh, I wish I had known that!

As I was waiting to get my makeup on, a woman asked me if I would come out to speak with her for a moment. It turns out she was a groupie and she was just fascinated that someone from the movie was talking to her. If she only knew how irrelevant I was in the whole grand scheme of this movie, then she wouldn't have bothered with me. Actually, I convinced her to help me put my collar on and she enthusiastically agreed to help me. I thanked her and said I needed to get back in line for makeup.

That was just too weird, but a little fun, too. People are strange when they get around people they think are famous. I enjoyed it in a sadistic, self-absorbed kinda way.

Back to the holding area I went and we waited there for about 30 minutes before one of the assistant directors came in to tell us to line up for wardrobe to fix us up perfectly since the scene we would be in was getting ready to be shot. EXCITING!!!

It was a couple of minutes later as I was waiting in the back of the line that I hear the assistant director say, "Where's Jimmy Moore?" I raise my hand to identify myself and she says, "Come here." She explains that I need to move to the front of the line because I'm gonna be in the main part of this scene with George. As in George Clooney! You're kidding me! Not only am I getting to be a part of this atmosphere, but I'll probably end up being in the movie. Whoa!

After getting tugged on and fitted to make sure all of our costumes looked snazzy, we were led out to the filming site to wait and wait and wait while awaiting our instructions. The crew was already in action setting up the cameras and lights for the shoot while the primary director was walking the scene with his fellow assistants.

He walks right up to me and said, "This is what I want you to do." Then he tells me to look straight ahead and stoic as George rides up on the motorcycle and then give him an incredulous look. "Can you do that," he asked. "Yes sir!" I said.

Then we go through take after take after take rehearsing this 20-30 second scene. Everything was in motion and almost ready to be shot. About that time, Clooney appears on the set and starts observing the scene while making his recommendations about how it should go. All the extras start mumbling to themselves that THE star has arrived. I'm not all goo-goo, ga-ga over the man, but I admit it was neat.

Tick-tock-tick-tock...before I knew it, the time was already 3:00pm and we have been doing this scene for several hours. But it was getting close to showtime and shooting the scene with George since he was here. One of the sound guys came running straight at me as we were waiting and said, "George wants to mike you up for a possible line. Can you handle that?" I replied, "Sure!" They hooked up a fancy wireless microphone and got me all ready to say something. Are you kidding me?! WOWsers!

The first take with Clooney was a bit surreal for me. I looked straight ahead and did my look as instructed, but I was completely enamored by the amazing acting skills that George displayed. His character in "Leatherheads" is quite cocky and you could see that shine through in those few seconds he stood about one foot in front of me for that scene. What's amazing is we shot that scene about ten more times with Clooney.

He even speaks a line to me. In fact, I am the ONLY extra in that particular scene that he utters a single word to. COOL! Here's what he says--"Keep it close, will ya?" I was fascinated by Clooney when on the various retakes he would ad lib an extra word in that line. One time he added, "Captain" as in "Keep it close, will ya, Captain?" Another time, he said "Keep it close, will ya, fellow?" I kept wondering if "dude" or "man" was coming next. LOL!

Although we weren't supposed to ask for autographs or engage in small talk with the actors, after about the sixth take when the director yelled "cut" I looked over at George Clooney standing a couple of feet away and uttered, "Hey George, I think I've got your line memorized by now." He looked back and smiled with a slight little chuckle as if to say "welcome to the grit work of Hollywood...Captain!"

As for my big speaking debut in a Hollywood never materialized. Honestly, I think they forgot about me, but that's okay. Oh well, at least I'm pretty sure I'll end up in the movie with my role in this scene today. It was a load of fun, but tiring. Even still, I think I could handle doing this kind of work everyday!

We broke for "lunch" which ended up being around 3:45pm and were fed a delicious spread of gourmet food prepared buffet-styled and yes I got to eat low-carb. I had green and WHITE asparagus (never heard of it before, but it was good!), salad greens, meatloaf, pulled pork, and honeydew for dessert. We weren't sure if we would be needed anymore after our meal, so we all filled up.

During the meal, I was able to tell the people at my table about livin' la vida low-carb. They were amazed by my weight loss success story and seemed genuinely interested in what I was saying. Of course, all the while I was talking about ditching sugar from my diet, they were eating chocolate chip cookies and banana splits for dessert. Oh well! Old habits are hard to break.

After a little more than a hour since we started eating lunch and were beginning to wonder what we would be doing next, the assistant director came in and yelled, "Thank you very much, you can go home now!" WOO HOO! Getting out of my doorman costume was a lot easier and faster than getting in it was and I as so ready to wear blue jeans and tennis shoes again. But I'm not complaining...this was as I have described it before a "once in a lifetime" experience that I will not soon forget.

When I went to check out and get my paperwork for getting paid (oh yeah, BONUS!), they asked me if I would be available for several more dates at the end of the month. Really?! I get to do this again? Yes, please sign me up! I'll be back in a heartbeat and wouldn't miss it for the world.

So that's how my first experience in a Hollywood movie went today. Like I said earlier, there is a very, very good chance I'll be in the final cut of "Leatherheads." When you see the scene that has George Clooney riding in on a motorcycle around a fountain in front of a hotel, look for the doorman who is giving him a dirty look as he says, "Keep it close, will ya?" That'll be me! :)

Several of my fellow extras took pictures of me in costume, so I'll post them for you here if I receive them via e-mail in the next few days. Also, I may blog about my experiences later this month when I will return to the set for more scenes in the movie. Hopefully my recap here allowed you to vicariously relive my memorable day!

3-5-07 UPDATE: One of my regular readers in Greenville, South Carolina said she wished she had known "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Man" was on the "Leatherheads" movie set on Sunday.


I read you blog every day for inspiration (thanks!) but had to drop you a line today. I live in Greenville (small world, huh? Who would believe a guy from Spartanburg would inspire me on my weight loss journey!!), and I am very aware of all the Clooney mania in our area.

When I read your blog about your adventures at the Westin hotel yesterday (or did they rename it Emerson???), I had to chuckle. I was downtown to pick up my son at that time yesterday, and I only wish I had known to find the doorman (YOU!) to say hi!

Anyway, keep up the good work, Jimmy. You really are a special guy.

So, is it true when they say George is kind of short? Aw c'mon, I'll never tell...

THANKS so much for writing! I'm always happy to hear from my readers in the Upstate of South Carolina. :) I appreciate your e-mail today.

The "Leatherheads" shoot was a little monotonous, but in a way was energizing, too. Sounds like an oxymoron, but it was so surreal.

I would have LOVED to meet you and your son at the "Emerson," but security was tight. Plus there were so many Clooney fans along the barriers, it would have been maddening trying to say hello. Again, I appreciate your e-mail.

As for Clooney's height...I'm taller than he is, but he's not unusually Tom Cruise is. :) THANK YOU again for your e-mail!

4-2-07 UPDATE: At long last, here are some of my pictures from the set of "Leatherheads" as well as more experiences on a follow-up filming that took place at the end of March in Travelers Rest, South Carolina.

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Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Wow, Jimmy! Sounds like a great experience! And perhaps even more scenes, right? I'll definitely want to see that movie when it comes out :)

3/04/2007 11:26 PM  
Blogger JeriD said...

Congrats on this, Jimmy. You deserve nothing but great things to come your way.

How goes (went?) your job search?


3/06/2007 1:25 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS Jerid! I'm happily working in what is arguably the best job I've ever had now. THANK YOU for your concern. I'm getting to be in a movie with George Clooney--all in all, life is good. :)

3/06/2007 8:10 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

What a great story and experience, Jimmy, you make my theater-major heart envious. Hope you get more scenes, too.

Do you think your relative fame made any difference in your being chosen, or did they have no clue who you are? More likely it was your imposing height and strong frame, though funny that the football player turned into a doorman. This increased visibility will only add to your cache, and who knows what will come next if low-carb takes off again? You recently chuckled about getting a tv show, but this may be just preparing you for what may be a life-long role in media. You may just be beginning!

Isn't it interesting, though, that in the week that a few positive low-carb studies come out, suddenly bigger people want to interview you and cast you, when before they ignored you? This shows that fame is shallow and fickle. But hey, don't let that stop you! Once your reputation is established, you won't have to answer to the self-appointed judges of popularity.

3/06/2007 7:07 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

It really was wild, Kevin. At first when I heard I was going to be a doorman, I didn't think it would be a big deal. But then when the director kept giving me acting instructions and they miked me up for a possible line, I knew my "extra" role was going to be a little more involved.

Although it's only a brief part of the movie (so far), Clooney's character speaks to me and you'll have no trouble seeing the tall, broad-shouldered doorman giving him an incredulous look. THAT'S ME!

I don't know what I'll be doing later this month when I get to do it again, but I'm gonna have a ball with it when I do. :)

They didn't have a clue who I was and that's probably better for now. I appreciate your positive thoughts about my future...hey, I won't turn them down if they come knocking on my door for a TV show.

I've learned a long time ago that you take what life gives you and make the best of it good or bad. It's a motto that has served me well through all the ups and downs.

THANKS again for your support! It really means the world to me.

3/06/2007 7:19 PM  
Blogger annegc1 said...

Congratulations for such a great experience and thanks a lot for sharing with us.
There's only one thing I don't really understand: you keep talking about a director, does it mean that there is another director than George Clooney or that he doesn't direct this film? thanks for your answer

3/07/2007 4:53 PM  

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