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Movie Needs Extras For A Cast Of Thousands Filmmakers To Hire Some 2,000 For Wallace Set Of ‘Dante’s Peak’

Wed., April 24, 1996

Filmmakers expect to hire as many as 2,000 people as extras in a movie being filmed in Wallace this summer, an official said Tuesday.

Casting calls are scheduled for early May in Coeur d’Alene and Wallace. Ten weeks of filming in Idaho are set to begin June 3.

“The circus comes to town, and boy, do we set up tents,” said Tammy Smith, extras casting director for the film “Dante’s Peak.”

“Ultimately, I’ll probably be hiring a couple of thousand different people,” she said. She cast the extras in last year’s film “Waterworld” as well as in “Heat,” “Ed Wood” and “Indecent Proposal.”

Wallace, population 994, plays a lead role in the Universal Pictures film about a volcano near a rural town. Many of the film’s exterior shots will be filmed in Wallace, with disaster scenes to be filmed using miniatures in Los Angeles. Wallace was selected for its picturesque downtown and close-in mountains.

In the movie, tremors and the release of deadly subterranean gas lead the small town’s mayor to suspect the volcano is going to blow.

A scientist, played by Pierce Brosnan, is called in and confirms the mayor’s fears. Townspeople frantically evacuate, but the mayor’s family is trapped as the eruption begins.

Filmmakers want a broad cross section of people available for bit parts.

“If he (director Roger Donaldson) says to me, ‘I need five men under 5 feet tall who can juggle,’ I need to have them ready,” Smith said.

Very few of the extras’ parts involve speaking, and the pay is marginal: $40 for an eight-hour day and $75 for long days.

“It is a rare situation that they will not work at least 12 hours,” Smith said.

Still, she predicted no shortage of applicants. She’s expecting at least a thousand people a day at each of five casting calls.

“It’s Hollywood, for crying out loud. We can snub our noses at it all we want, but for the average person who doesn’t see how it (a movie) is made, it’s exciting.”

In Wallace, Audrey Smith says she is eager to try out. Her daughter played a pioneer immigrant in the 1970s film “Heaven’s Gate,” also filmed in Wallace.

“I think quite a few local people will do it,” said Smith, a longtime member of Wallace’s Sixth Street Melodrama theater group. “Everyone can use money. And there’s the fun and the thrill of picking yourself out of a crowd.”

But some aren’t as enthusiastic.

“I’m 67, and I don’t go in for that sort of thing,” said Ted Roloff, a retired court reporter in Wallace. “The only part I’d be interested in is one of the corpses after the eruption.”

Then he reconsidered.

“If they offered me a scene with Raquel Welch, I’d do it,” he said.

Typical extras’ roles include townspeople driving by, cafe customers, dignitaries at an awards ceremony, citizens at a town meeting and National Guardsmen.

“There are five or six days when I’ll need large numbers of people, maybe 1,000 at a time,” said Tammy Smith.

At the casting calls, people will be asked what kinds of pets, vehicles and clothing they have. Filmmakers will want to know what their measurements are and when they will be available.

“I’m not concerned with whether people have experience. Naturalness is more important,” she said.

Film officials encourage anyone to apply. They ask that no one call the casting locations.

Applicants will fill out personal information cards and should bring a small photo and dress casually. Parents can sign up when they bring their children.

, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: CATTLE CALL Casting sessions:

At Coeur d’Alene Inn and Conference Center, Cataldo ballroom, 414 W. Appleway, Coeur d’Alene. May 5, May 7 and May 8: 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. for adults; 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. for minors ages 1 through 17. May 6: 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. for adults only.

At Wallace High School, for Wallace and Kellogg residents only. May 11: 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. for adults; 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. for minors.

This sidebar appeared with the story: CATTLE CALL Casting sessions:

At Coeur d’Alene Inn and Conference Center, Cataldo ballroom, 414 W. Appleway, Coeur d’Alene. May 5, May 7 and May 8: 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. for adults; 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. for minors ages 1 through 17. May 6: 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. for adults only.

At Wallace High School, for Wallace and Kellogg residents only. May 11: 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. for adults; 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. for minors.



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