I oughta be in pictures.
And this time it’s not just those voices in my head telling me about my movie-star good looks.
An actual Hollywood casting director sized me up and concluded I definitely have what it takes to be the next Garbo.
Well, those weren’t quite Sally Jackson’s words.
“You’re every man,” is what she actually said, grinning at my bald visage like a Democrat with a new tax proposal. “You could play a fisherman or a farmer or a butcher or …”
Before I hang up the old day job, however, Jackson added a caveat: The faces she likes to cast for background scenes always “have something just a little off” about them.
Hmm. Do I feel flattered or go slit my wrists?
Jackson has spent 20 years in the movie industry, working on films like the third “Indiana Jones” saga and, more recently, “Last Man Standing.”
We met over the rainy weekend in the Metaline/ Metaline Falls area where she is busily recruiting extras to appear in “The Postman,” a futuristic Warner Bros. blockbuster starring Kevin Costner.
A steady flow of actor-wannabes trickled into a yellow tent pitched in the soggy field across from Hoogy’s steakhouse. We submitted photographs, filled out forms and answered highly personal questions about our height, weight and inseam.
Don’t even ask.
Being a movie extra isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. Those hired make only minimum wage and must put in 12- to 14-hour days for possibly three months of shooting.
Most working stiffs would have to pull a Chris Anderson disappearing act to sign on for that ride.
You may recall that shameless weasel who last year ran away from his Spokane City Council post. Anderson missed 21 meetings at public expense so he could drive a truck during the filming of “Dante’s Peak” in Wallace. Good riddance.
The editors probably won’t support my show biz aspirations, but there are plenty of others who apparently have plenty of time. Jackson says 1,500 put in their request to become part of Costner’s latest film. Although that sounds high, she still needs more ethnic people, men aged 30 to 40 and twin babies not yet born.
While many actors are babies, none are as demanding as actual newborns. That explains the need for twins. When one acts up, there’s always a spare.
Set after a nuclear apocalypse, “The Postman” tells the story of a ragtag remnant of humanity struggling to survive a rustic world without electricity, running water, indoor plumbing….
Present-day Pend Oreille County, in other words.
Sorry. That’s a cruel joke. There are probably dozens of places with plumbing in this wild-and-wooly land.
Clo-Anne Langfelt’s cabin, however, is not one of them.
“I’m off the grid,” said Langfelt, a striking gray-haired woman who dresses in flowing, earthy garb and enjoys her pioneer existence in the woods.
Langfelt, who has that “look” Jackson talks about, says the time-consuming requirements of being an extra won’t cramp her lifestyle, which sounds so laid-back it’s horizontal. “My goal is to have no schedule,” she added.
There are plenty of ready-made characters for this flick such as Gene “Pappy” Johnston and his companion, Anita Koontz.
The pair showed up at the casting tent wearing fringe buckskin jackets. “This is the way we look all the time,” said Johnston, whose thick gray beard is as wild and unruly as a briar patch.
The two live on a 23-acre ranch and hunt for their meat. They were cruising down the highway when the signs calling for extras caught their attention. “If I knew we were gonna do this I’d have worn my Indian dress,” added Koontz.
Even if Costner’s “Postman” turns into another “Waterworld” flop, this show biz injection into northeastern Washington’s sparsely populated hill country will have a tremendous impact.
Why, there’s been a big change already.
“Oh, it’s been great,” said a waitress in Cathy’s Cafe, a popular Metaline Falls restaurant. “Now we all talk about the movie instead of each other.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo
MEMO: Want to be in the movies? Send your photograph and vital statistics to: Extras, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 406 Park Street, Metaline Falls, WA 99153.
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