The thing I took most away from working as an extra in the opening scene of Les Miserables was the idea of being a small cog in the massive machine that is cinema. In the aftermath of the shoot, I have found myself looking at some of the bigger scenes in cinema and wondering what it would be like to be a part of that moment. I have comprised the top five scenes that I would have killed to have joined in on. If you think I have missed any out (or maybe you were an extra in those scenes – if so, please tell me what it was like), leave a comment below.
5 – THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
The scene in question: The moment where the cops raise themselves an army and charge Bane’s mercenaries in the street.
Why? Can you imagine the fun? Nolan pretty much lines up each side and asks them to run at each other, punching anyone they make contact with. And you can get paid for it. You can either play a desperate cop with nothing to lose, or a crazed ex-prisoner from Blackgate. With that character in mind, you have a massive brawl in the middle of the street.
Personally, I would love to have been one of the random guys that Batman or Bane takes out. It would be a brief charge, quickly stopped by getting a hit to the face. I would happily let Christian Bale or Tom Hardy full-on punch me, just so I could go away and say: ‘I was taken out by Batman’.
Possible downsides: It was snowing in that scene. It could be pretty cold to stand around waiting for the cameras to start rolling.
4 – SPIDERMAN
The scene in question: The parade just before the Green Goblin first shows himself to Spiderman.
Why? Because basically the city is getting together, having a bit of a fun day and just asked to pose for a camera for a few moments. You have Macy Grey there singing, the usual fun you get with a parade and basically just the combination of a fun day out and the chance to be in a Spiderman movie. And also, if you are very lucky, you might be given the chance to look up in the sky and say the immortal line of ‘Look, it’s Spiderman!’ It is hard to see a downside to that scenario.
Possible downsides: I am not entirely sure the parade even knew they were being filmed. It is easy to imagine the directors making everyone sign a ‘you might be being filmed’ form and then carry on with the shoot. The shots of people looking up could have been added to the film at a later date. Therefore this extra shoot could, in a sense, be non-existent.
3 – RESIDENT EVIL
The scene in question: Any scene with zombies in.
Why? Simple words. Zombie school. For one, afterwards your CV will have zombie on it and that thought is awesome. The actual zombie school could be awesome too, getting loads of small-time actors in the same room and having them shuffling around a deserted street for a handful of weeks. And then you take that onto the actual set, grabbing random civilians and biting into them. It’s the apocalypse, but where you are on the winning side.
Possible downsides: I have actually no idea what zombie school is like. It could be really dull and strict. That would turn something fun into a chore.
2 – LORD OF THE RINGS
The scene in question: Any of the major battles involving Orcs.
Why? Well, two reasons. One: it would be cool in the same way I want to be an extra for that scene of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. Just get several people into a fight and let the director guide you into the fight of a lifetime. Lord of the Rings also focuses on the random guards more, so there would be a higher chance of catching a shot of you in the battle.
Secondly, though, it would just be awesome to have the costumes and make-up people transform you. Imagine seeing an Orc-version of yourself. It would be an amazing experience. Lord of the Rings is the kind of thing that would just be amazing to take part in and Peter Jackson is the kind of director that would put so much details in what the extras were wearing that you would be fully immersed into Middle-Earth.
Possible downsides: You will be wearing so much make-up and costume, it would be near-impossible to spot yourself, even if there was a clear shot of you. Also, it’s in New Zealand, so it would probably be more of a summer’s work than a spare week.
1 – CABIN IN THE WOODS
The scene in question: The awesome scene at the end, where the office workers have the caged horror movie creatures unleashed upon them.
Why? Because it looks hilarious. Just round up a group of people, get as much fake blood as you can get your hands on and just kill everyone off in the goriest and funniest ways imaginable. I can just imagine the fun behind the scenes. Director Drew Goddard seeing that extra that used up the last of the coffee and punishing him by having him killed off by a lame Unicorn. It would the best week of work you would ever do in your life.
Possible downsides: It’s a small group of extras, so Goddard would probably search for semi-professional actors to get the parts. It would have been so difficult to actually get the role. However, when you did get the job, it would be one of the greatest experiences of your life.