On the Set: Local Girl Turned Gone Girl Extra

By Heather Capriola

This Local Girl was able to check something off of my Bucket List earlier this week. I had the opportunity to be a background actor for the movie being filmed in Cape, “Gone Girl”.  It was definitely an eye opening experience!


I, like a couple thousand others, attended the open casting call at Rose Theatre in August.  After several weeks, I still hadn’t received a call from the casting people so I assumed I didn’t have the ‘look’ they were searching for.  However, on Friday night, I was called and asked if I were available to shoot the following Monday and Tuesday. The casting representative that contacted me gave me directions to the set, as well as explain that someone from the wardrobe department would be contacting me.  Sunday I received a call from Los Angeles explaining all the ‘good’ colors to wear and all the ‘bad’ colors.  (Apparently David Fincher HATES color) I also learned that my call time was 6 am and to be there early so the next morning I was bright eyed and bushy tailed at 4am.  I was expecting that the set would be busy and there would be a lot of waiting for my scene but I grossly underestimated how busy the set would be or how much waiting there would be.  I checked in with one of the Production Assistants at 5:30am and although I was called to set twice throughout the day, I didn’t get to shoot my scene until about 7pm.  If you are wanting to be a background actor, I suggest that you need to have the patience of a saint because the days are 12 or more hours long.  If you don’t have a saint’s patience, maybe just bring lots of stuff to do: books, phone, 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle, etc. However, the time I spent waiting for my scene was interesting. I met some fellow thespians from the Cape/Jackson area and spoke with each of them about why they wanted to be in the movie.  Some were fans of the book, some thought it would be a good experience, and some were just fans of the director or actors in the film.


The second day of filming was much better than the first for two reasons: I knew more of what to expect, and the whole production appeared to go more smoothly. The highlight of Day 2 was when I was chosen, along with my pretend husband for the day, to be a Young Couple in Love. We were just excited to be actually filming instead of sitting in a room! One of the Production Assistants explained to us what our cues were and directed us on what we would be doing in the scene. After getting our direction and running through the scene a few times, we look up to see none other than Rosamund Pike, followed by David Fincher.  We were lucky enough to be less than a foot away from them while he was giving her direction.  It is amazing how much thought and time goes into each and every scene.  David is arguably one of the best directors ever and it was evident as we watched him come back and talk to Rosamund (he called her Rosy) after each scene. After each take, a small army of hair and makeup people, complete with tool belts full of every makeup and hair product imaginable, would rush over and fix a stray hair, straighten her shirt, or apply more makeup.  Being able to see how much effort and creative thought goes into each scene and take was very cool.


Knowing that I would be waiting a lot throughout the day, I filled my time getting to know the crew.  At lunch, I introduced myself to 2 tables of the crew and asked how they were enjoying Cape.  Everyone I spoke to had very positive things to say about our town and the residents. A few crew members already have their ‘regular’ spots but were very interested in learning about my favorite spots in Cape.  They asked my suggestions for different things: a good steak, a good dive bar, a place to have a couple drinks and hear good music, and even the best place to get a manicure.  I was fortunate enough to hear some great stories from some of the crew on set.  I met Ben Affleck’s wardrobe stylist who told me that Cape has amazing thrift stores.  One of the drivers sang the praises of Broussard’s and stated that he loves the vibe there. I was very pleased to learn that the crew has been enjoying their time in Cape and felt very welcomed by everyone. 


So my movie making experience was everything that I thought it would be.  I was able to check something off of my Bucket List, help promote Cape and all its local treasures, meet some great, interesting, new people, and do something that my boys would think was cool.  Well, I was able to accomplish all but the last item.  After telling them that I was going to be filming a movie, their response was, “Ok.  Can we have a fruit snack?” Hopefully your children aren’t as tough critics as mine! I encourage you to go to one of the casting calls if you have an opportunity. You will learn quite a bit, have a neat experience, help welcome our new Hollywood friends, and may even get to see yourself on the big screen!

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