Archives for posts with tag: Wolf of Wall Street

Merrily standing, while the crew (lights, props, camera) sets the airplane, determining camera positioning and movement- the supervising costumer queries where are the stewardesses’ jackets. Researching prior to fitting, every 1990s airline uniform I found had a long boxy (ugly) coat.  “They weren’t fit with one” says one costumer, shortly after which the main man buttons one up my fellow background stewardesses.  Tugging to adjust, it’s off her with an “If the shoe fits” and onto me: Like a glove!  Leading to my subsequent placement, by the 1st AD- Adam- outside the entrance of the plane, however, the added costume piece was vetoed because the two ‘featured’ stewardesses were in jackets.  The scene set, Martin Scorsese walked in, a foot away from me, big toothy smile and a nod looking right into my eyes.

The main characters’ action was behind my back, challenging the timing of my cue.  Stumbling, a commotion stirs inside the plane door, JUST after which I cross, clipboard in hand.  Intention: to hear [when will I get eyeballs in the back-of-my-head like mom] specifically when a pass through space is cleared enough, while not leaving a lag, yet allotting perfect pacing bereft of bunching the entryway with other boarders.  Following take one, Adam instructs “five beats sooner”; ensued by take two’s  “ten beats later”.  The concern became star/producer Leonardo DiCaprio was, and is earnestly respected for, relaxing into the scene, taking more time and space– succumbing to the depth of the character’s drugged state- creating a background awkwardness.  Imagine Marty during filming, watching his screen, wanting, understandably as an artist, the frame to look just so with a good pacing of background actors.

‘Respect’ is a pale word for a director of Mr. Scorsese’s caliber.  Once, he stepped in to speak to DiCaprio, I heard him quietly say “It will work better with the cut if you do it this way”.  He can see the edit in his mind’s eye as the camera is rolling.  In real life, this scene was probably a cumbersome event.  We moved on after maybe nine takes, and I’m still “the redhead” called back for a second exciting day on-set.

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I am working with Martin Scorsese as “Swiss Air Stewardess #1” in his current film ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’. To be a ‘Background Actor’, liberally speaking, is to be working with Marty. However, realistically, this is an opportunity, and must be taken full advantage of…. how is this done? Recently I had the fitting- the lovely Sue, of Brooklyn, measured me every which way: nape to collar, collar to shoulder, shoulder to elbow, waist, waist to knee, you get the idea. Well, what now.

Arriving very early for the fitting, after a train of one hour twenty minutes, a lovely stroll through the wondrous city of New York was embarked upon.  I walked almost the same amount of time during the 2.5 mile stretch, through ‘The Village’ from Penn Station on a misty day, whilst smiling and grinning every step.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LoOvVE walking around New York City.  As a recent transplant, always feeling the magnetism elicited, being in the city is akin to organic fertilizer; sometimes I even imagine living there. However, since high school art class, and especially reinforced following the recent hurricane, I have understood the value and necessity for Freedom in creating Art, therefore I tend to shun any constancy which might cause dullness and a jaded lack of appreciation for what once enthralled and created life force.  A “have to” makes for a frowny-face.

Sue of Brooklyn said by the time the movie was wrapped over 2,500 fittings will have occurred!  Sue, the seamstress, had a lovely vitality and I wonder how many of those people will remember her name, or that she lives in Brooklyn, or knows she has been trying to remember  her daughter’s passport.  I only know these tidbits about the woman who measured me for all of maybe ten minutes because I was genuinely interested in her.  She asked me if I lived close, I responded in the middle of Long Island, and she was interested where exactly that was. A simple question became a moment shared on a journey, and when I return for a pre-fit tomorrow- full costume prior to filming- my memory will serve me well.

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I have been exposed to a new term- “Background Whore”.  On-set consorting with fellow extras one man told me how he worked four, sometimes five, days a week using this term, though now his focus is honing his basketball skills so he can take advantage of the next commercial opportunity to be one of the tall players chosen.  A commercial pays more than double what one day as a television or movie background actor garners, plus possible residuals.  This young man revealed he had been working this way, ‘whoring’, for a year and a half.

Another actress posed the question of whether this (working as an extra) was my ultimate aim.  She did not mean to offend, however I was aghast, later realizing- it was a good question I needed to hear. Knowing the answer and taking action toward a truer goal- while I am full of gratitude to be making money to cover bills through this endeavor rather than relying solely on savings- I WANT A PRINCIPAL ROLE! and desire to focus efforts on achievement!!  This same day, still on the set of ‘Smash’, I was called to play a stewardess on Martin Scorsese’s current film project ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’.  Though far from the mark, still a step closer, an opportunity to share space and be seen- perhaps even bumped up to having a line by a well respected director.

From what I heard, redheads are favorably singled out by Mr. Scorsese. We shall see, indeed my hopes are this hearsay carries validity.  In any case, I will be on-set with one of the great film makers of our time and there most certainly will be something valuable to be learned.  Since becoming more re-familiarized working as an extra, I feel I have lost some of the curiosity and irreverence from my first day on ‘Made In Jersey’.  Then I barely stayed in ‘Holding’, rather enjoying the outside and watching the movement of the crew and directors- staying out of the way- but also staying in eyesight: ever smiling.  Be interested, and you shall be interesting- I heard that cleverness somewhere smart.

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