Punisher Part One: Casting Call
girl: "So what is this movie about anyway?"
Blonde girl: "It's a Marvel comic."
Brunette: "Another one?!?
Blonde: "Yeah, another one."
a comic fan and a movie fan, when I heard there was going to be
an open casting call for extras for the Punisher movie, I knew I
had to be there. By all reports, the event was scheduled to take
place Saturday, July 19th, from 12 Noon to 4 PM at the Florida Aquarium
in downtown Tampa. Friday night, I doublechecked my directions and
maps (I live an hour from Tampa), picked out a photo, and dug out
my copy of the first Rising Stars novelization in case I was bored
while waiting in line.
the first corner.
debated about how early to get there, deciding to try to make it
between 10 and 11. As someone on a message board pointed out this
week, not only did you have to worry about the swarm of fanboys
sure to turn out for the event, you also had to worry about every
stagemom in Tampa dragging their kids down there hoping they'll
a quick trip to Walgreens in the morning for film and sunblock,
I was on my way around 10 Saturday morning. Everything was running
smoothly until I got a few blocks from the aquarium, then I hit
the traffic jam. The Tampa Police were already directing traffic
past the aquarium parking entrance.
Punisher fan dresses for the occasion.
closer...and the hopefuls keep coming.
turned out not to be a problem, however. Although it took 20 minutes
for the traffic to weave its way inside, I was able to get a great
spot in the Channelside parking garage. So I quickly headed over
to the front of the aquarium, walking past several news vans in
the process. Okay, the line weaves around the building...no problem.
Hmmm...it runs past the next building. Does it ever end?!? When
I found the end of the line, it was already winding back and forth
in the one of the Port Terminal parking lots. Although I had considered
giving up if things looked too crazy, I figured I might as well
get in line since I was going to have to rest just to find the
strength to walk back to my car.
Channel 8 film crew interviewing the potentials... just one of several
local tv stations covering the event.
I finally made it in line about 11:30. Interestingly, the line was
already moving, despite the announced starting time of 12 Noon.
Stuck out in the open, I followed the lead of several others and
used my umbrella to block the sun. And the wait began.
Making the trip by myself, I started paying attention to the people
around me. A local wrestler that I wasn't familiar with was talking
to a guy about his street
fight that night at the Florida Wrestleplex in St. Pete. Right
behind me was Phil Glassman, an actor whose movie credits include
The Scorpion King, Phone Booth, and Minority Report.
inside! Hollywood, here I come!
friend in line with him was an experienced extra. They estimated
the crowd at this point to be around 3,000 people. But the line
kept moving. I overheard a guy I recognized from local comic shows
talking about having arrived at 8 that morning. He said they started
letting people in at 11, and he was already finished with the process.
His buddy was going down the line trying to warn those under 18
that it did them no good to wait in line as minors had to mail in
their information. Some might have heeded his warnings but a lot
of kids stuck it out anyway.
I kept an eye out for people wearing comic-oriented shirts. I spotted
4 or 5 Punisher shirts and 1 guy in a Superman t-shirt, but that
Some teenage girls in the line were excited by the presence of current
and former cast members of MTV's The Read World being there filming
something. I never did find out what that was all about.
As we got close to the aquarium, a film crew from the local NBC
affiliate, Channel 8, interviewed some of the people in line.
As we neared the entrance to the building, crew members passed out
forms for everyone to fill out...blue sheets for guys, pink sheets
for girls. In addition to contact information and physical characteristics,
they wanted to know our availability, our clothing sizes, and the
make and model of our cars.
Finally, we made it inside the building! First we were shuffled
into a room full of people scrambling to get their forms filled
out. I was able to do mine as we walked so I saved a couple of minutes
there and moved on. Next, about 75 of us went into a big room to
hear the casting director (Ellen
Jacoby?) tell us what was what.
starts August 2nd and continues for 3 months. Extras will get 3
to 7 days notice. Calls start next week, but you might not get a
call for a month. Or two months. If you haven't got a call in three
months, you're not getting one. The bad news is that they only need
about 2,000 extras. Spread out over 3 months of filming, that isn't
very much. The good news is that if you get a call, you will be
used and are more likely to actually be seen on the screen. Pay
is $75 a day. Extras are required to be on the set for 12 hours.
10 hours of shooting and an hour for lunch. I don't know where the
12th hour comes in. If they go past 10 hours of filming, you get
paid overtime. Shooting will take place days and nights at locations
to be determined, but the film will be shot in Tampa and takes place
in Tampa. Good luck!
So that was it. After 2 and a half hours of waiting in line, now
the real wait begins to see if I get a phone call. The funniest
part was everyone worrying about whether they wore the right clothes
or not or how terrible they were going to look after sweating in
the sun so long. No one got an individual look. We were just herded
through like cattle. Makes you wonder why they made everyone go
through such an unnecessary process. They could have just handed
everyone an application and an info sheet and be done with it. But
maybe it was a psychological test. If you were crazy enough to wait
in the sun for hours to fill out the application, just maybe you're
actually crazy enough to work as an extra.
phone, so ring already!
Go on to Part Two.
this story on the message board.