Dodging bullets on the set of "Three Days to Kill"

La Cité du Cinéma, the recently opened studio complex in Paris.

Stephane is traveling again this week, which means that we're back to using one of our most frequent modes of communication. Text messages.

10:00 pm., Wednesday, January 23
Stephane: How are things going?

10:25 pm
Mary Kay: Fine. We're dodging bullets again.

10:27 pm
Stephane: Ok. Be safe.

Just in case you think that I was speaking metaphorically, or that Stephane wasn't overly concerned about my safety, the bullets were actually blanks fired from real guns on the set of Kevin Costner's new movie, "Three Days to Kill". Saddened that our days of endless partying with our new friends had all too abruptly come to an end last Saturday night, Sara and I were overjoyed when we were invited back to the swanky Parisian penthouse for additional shooting yesterday. What the casting company neglected to tell us is that we would be dancing to Rihanna (again!) and running from bullets in high heels until 12:30 am. Would it have mattered? Not in the least because I'm hooked.

If low pay, unpredictable hours and interminable waiting sound like your cup of tea, Casting.fr and Cineaste.org list positions for professional actors/actresses and extras (figurines). But please remember that you must be able to legally work in France and that you will probably have to show proof that you pay taxes here. Current listings on Casting.fr include one for an Anglophone actress with an American accent to play different roles in a movie set in 19th century New York and another one for an American actor who resembles Joseph Pulitzer.

With the recent opening of the Cité du Cinéma, a Hollywood-sized studio complex offering high-grade film services on the outskirts of Paris, the city is expected to attract more foreign productions. Dubbed "Hollywood on the Seine", the $200 million complex was built on the grounds of a former 1930s power station in Saint-Denis. It's an impressive location, even if the colossal rooms are freezing in January and we had to trudge outside in our cocktail dresses because there aren't any indoor restrooms in the soundstage. Nonetheless, if you ever hear of a film being shot in Paris that needs extras, please let me know. I'll be there in a heartbeat!

Please click here to read Sara's post "Dances with Extras" in which I learned about my daughter's crush on Kevin Costner!

We were lucky enough to eat inside one of the main buildings at the Cité du Cinéma a couple of times while filming.

Comments

  1. Cool! You're on your way to an Oscar! I'm sure. I love that the extras are called "figurines". I'm surprised thought that they let you go out into the snow in your high heels. Are they Roger Vivier?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interestingly enough, when I mentioned that I like the word "figurines" more than "extra" to a French speaking woman, she said that she prefers "extras". But even better, I just got my pay slip in the mail and they called us "actrice de complement", which is my favorite label!

      Alas, I wasn't wearing Roger Vivier. Only painfully high Boutique 9 shoes. I'll be curious to see if they're able to use the footage that they shot of our feet while we were running from the bullets because everyone's shoes were dirty from walking through the snow/water. I'm fairly sure that Connie Nielsen (Kevin Costner's wife in the movie) was wearing Jimmy Choos.

      Delete
  2. Please tell me Sara is applying for the young actress job for the film in 1800s New York!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sara would love to play that role - or any role that would allow her to dress in a period costume. But since she is heading back to the USA soon, I think that she would prefer to go to the 1920s Jazz Festival in NYC with you!

      Delete
  3. So happy to hear about the ongoing adventure. How exciting and how wonderful that Sara is there with you to share in the excitement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it was a really fun mother/daughter experience -- one that we'll probably still be talking about for years to come!

      Delete
  4. It sounds like you found your niche in Paris! I have a feeling this is going to become a series of blog posts; your life a Parisian extra. Hey, that's an untouched angle on the expat story!

    My extra days settled in the dust of the Hollywood Hills but what I would be curious to know is if my SAG card (I know, what a joke) would work. Do American screen actors union rules and rates apply in France? Hmmm...no idea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you ever change your mind and want to get back in the biz, it would be worth finding out if your SAG card works here. All of the actresses/actors with whom I spoke were French so they had the French equivalent of a SAG card. We'll have to get together soon and compare notes about our days as extras!

      Even though I don't think that it's exactly my niche, I was really happy to have the opportunity to do it once in my life. Most fascinating for me was seeing how they filmed certain scenes, like the guy falling head first off the mezzanine.

      Delete
  5. It seems the start of a wonderful new opportunity Mary Kay...no more "trailing spouse" labels for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps...but I think that I'll still keep my day job as a trailing spouse until my career as an extra really takes off!

      Delete
  6. "Figurine"--what a perfect word for extra, since they are there mainly to grace the set. As a TV/Film production graduate, I used to hear about films before they went into production. Maybe I will have to start keeping my ears open again for you. It seems like you and/or Sara could keep up a nice little side job.

    More trivia: since we live fairly close to Hollywood, my younger brother also worked as an extra on and off years ago. His most "popular" show was the Power Rangers kids' show. We tease him about it all the time. He never worked on a big-time film like you. Hope there are more in your future!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like that you say that figurines are mainly there to grace the set! A Frenchwoman, who is an aspiring director, told me that extras are basically moveable props. It's the description that I've been using whenever someone asks what it was like to be an extra.

      My son loved the Power Rangers! It was a huge success, especially in Asia which is where we were living at the time. I finally had to stop him from watching the show because he always imitated the Power Rangers' moves and had simulated fights with his friends.

      Delete
  7. "invited back...for additional shooting" and hooray for the industrial strength ear plugs for those LOUD guns. They could have come in handy earlier during "I've been looking for you all my liiiiiiiife" (the earplugs that is, not the guns, though actually now that I think of it.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Additional shooting it was in more ways than one! Sara said that she nearly made a mad dash for it when she heard a loud noise on the street this afternoon. Thanks to "Three Days to Kill", we've been conditioned to run like crazy whenever we hear a bang. And to dance whenever we hear "I've been looking for you all my liiiiife"!

      Those industrial strength earplugs came in handy the last two nights because our upstairs neighbors have been partying as much as we were in the penthouse!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts