Our Day on the set of the Movie "Contraband"

Sunday night, Esther told Dean and me that we should sign up to be extras on the movie Contraband, which starred Mark Wahlberg and started pre-production filming this week in New Orleans.  I sent an email with our pictures to the casting office that night, not really expecting anything.

Tuesday, we got a call. Dean and I were asked to be extra's in the movie.

Our first time ever doing anything like this.

This morning we hit the road at 5am, stopped at the Huddle House in La Place for breakfast, then arrived in New Orleans on the set of the Movie Contraband at 8am.

Dean went to wardrobe while I took a nap in the van. My casting call wasn't until 10:30am.

Dean and I were to be working in a TSA office. They dressed me in a blue skirt and jacket, and Dean in a blue button-down, black pants, and a tie. We were supposed to look like dull, conservative office workers.
me as a TSA office worker

Dean, the TSA office worker

We both had hair and make-up done, but the production lady told the make-up artist to redo mine because she said I looked "too sexy and glamorous." So the make-up lady basically took all my eye make-up off.

We sat in a cold room waiting to be called to set. It was frigid. VERY little heat. Then right before lunch, we got the call.

We had all been instructed not to talk to the actors. They are working, they need to concentrate, etc.

We arrived, and I was placed behind a high counter/desk area. Dean is placed as a TSA agent walking through the scene. We were categorized as "background." They told us that we wouldn't be seen in any settings, maybe legs, passing hair, etc., but we wouldn't be actually seen. Our job was to make the background of the scene look full of natural activity.

We receive our instructions. I was to be thumbing through papers on my desk then acting as if I was entering them into the computer. Dean walks in with a binder, hands it to a guy at the other end of the counter, and walks out. Other "background" office workers are doing similar stuff.

We were told our "cues." When they say action and then say "background," that's when we start doing our thing.

We were all set and ready to do our take.

Then, he walks in. Mark Wahlberg. He sat at a desk in the corner, across from a lady who asked him questions; all the while, we were doing our "background" stuff. We shoot the scene 3 or 4 times, then they say "cut." They look at the film and then say, "that's a lock." Which means we are done filming that scene.

Mark smiles and nods to us as he leaves the room.

We are told that we are done with that scene, time for lunch break, and head to the van that will take us back to the cold building we were in before, where we will be eating lunch.

As I am walking out the door, Tim, the assistant director, comes up to me and says, "Carole, we are going to get you through lunch real quick and get your make-up freshened up and get you back here to shoot a scene, You going to be in the movie."

He instructs me to get in the van with the crew (who get to eat first because of union rules), so I can get done and get back.

I was so nervous. It was hard to eat.

When I got back to the set, I saw that the big gigantic camera was right behind the seat at the desk that I was sitting in earlier. Tim tells me to go sit there again. He says that we will be filming a scene where I will be taking Mark's picture with the webcam, and then I have to click the image to make it bigger on the computer. That is all I am supposed to do for the scene. We go over it a few times with the stand-in. I have no lines. I am just supposed to take the picture with one mouse click, then click on the image again to make it big. Tim instructed me not to say anything.

The cameramen are instructed, "make sure she's in the shot...you got her in it, right?" as they aim at the back of my head and the side of my face, past me looking at the images of Mark that come up on my computer screen. 

The scene is ready to shoot, in walks Mark. He sits down right in front of me, against the blue background like at the DMV for a new driver's license picture. I did as I was instructed. I click...

"You gonna tell me when to smile" I look up, and Mark Wahlberg is speaking to me. He's asking me a question during a scene. That is rolling. A question that was not in the script. I was told I had no lines!! OMG!!!! Mark Wahlberg is talking to me!!

He asks me again, "you gonna tell me when to smile?"

Seriously. Ok, I have to respond. Is he add-libing? Stay calm, Carole, stay calm. Roll with it.

He asked again. I answer, "ok, smile." I click, then enlarge the picture as instructed.

I don't hear "cut' so I keep going. And you guessed it, Mark says again, "You gonna tell me when to smile." and I again say "Smile." then I click and enlarge again.

This happened 5-7 times, we kept rolling, and Mark Wahlberg, the Oscar nominee, the "Fighter," the teenage Rap sensation, Marky Mark, THE Mark Wahlberg is asking me a question, in character, that was not in the script,  and I was answering him! In a scene for a major motion picture. WHAT THE???

Finally, the director says cut.

I immediately look up toward Tim, who is nearby. I say, "I'm sorry, I didn't say Smile, at first, I just didn't know I was supposed to say anything" As I'm saying this, Mark walks to where I am sitting at the desk, leans on it, touches my arm and says "I was just messin' with you, seeing If I could get you to say it." Now he is right in front of me, talking to ME!!!

I say, "Oh, good. I was like, 'should I say it, oh my gosh, I didn't know I was supposed to say anything". And I'm kinda laughing. Mark is laughing. And says a couple more times to me, "I was just playing with you," all the while he's smiling and being very playful.

And I'm thinking, "Carole, you're having a little playful banter with Mark Wahlberg!!! Stay calm!!!!!!!!!!" as I act as calm as a cucumber...but inside I was freaking out like a 12yr old school girl!

The scene is done. They call it a "Lock," and we move on to another scene.

Dean and I both shot two more scenes in that setting as "background." Dean also shot another background scene in a hallway.

While Dean was shooting that scene, I was hanging out, waiting in the production area. Giovanni Ribisi was walking around where we were sitting and waiting. He looked like a homeless tattoo freak crack head that I thought maybe working for the lighting people (he was in character), But then I kept looking at him, and I knew he looked familiar, then I realized who he was. Febe's brother, remember on Friends? He was also in Avatar and Saving Private Ryan. I didn't know until I saw him that he was in the movie too. So is Kate Beckinsale (who was not on set today) and Diego Luna (who was on set today, but I had no idea who he was until I got home and looked up the cast listing. He was in the movie Milk with Sean Pen and The Terminal with Tom Hanks)

By 6:30pm, we were done shooting.

That was our day on the set of the movie Contraband. It was a long and COLD day but very FUN! The cast and crew were very nice to all of us the entire time.

The movie is set for release in March of 2012. Watch for the TSA/immigration office scene. We are all up in the background. And I'm the lady taking Mark Wahlberg's picture. Look for the back of my head. Hopefully, it won't get cut from the movie.

Did I mention that Mark Wahlberg was joking around with me on the set? Ok, just making sure.

(read about "day 2" on the set HERE )


Anderson Crew said…
HOW FUN!!!!!
Candice said…
Omg!! That is so cool!
I cant wait to see it!
Kimberly said…
Wow!! How awesome, once in a life time :)
Chuck Bush said…
Very cool, Carole. You have to ask Angie about the time I took her to meet Kevin Costner. Now, imagine doing that job everyday. Welcome to my world!
angela renee said…
OMG! How fun!!! I would not have kept my cool, I know it. I've got a mad crush in him and his brother. Haha. Those Wahlberg boys are adorable. Congrats girl!! I can't wait to see the movie!
AdoptedAsHisOwn said…
Ok Stephanie and I are rolling laughing at this!!!!! How fun!!!!!
Rosie said…
That's awesome, Carole. I am marking my calendar for March 2012to see your debut. And I know there are more to come. Hooray for you and Dean!
Anonymous said…
Ok, so Mark Wahlberg was flirting with you. Cool!

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