Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Gay Love Story?

Last week, I received a call on my mobile from some woman who was a production co-ordinator, or something. asking me if I would be an extra in a film shoot. The shoot was this past Sunday. I heard money was involved and food, so I was in. I didn't even know the name of the film. Then she said they wanted some people to take their clothes off. I hesitated. She then added that some would strip off completely, some could strip partially, and others could not strip. She wanted to know which I would be up for. My reflex response? I would probably be one of the ones who wouldn't strip at all. She kind of sheepishly asked if I would at least consider, maybe, doing a partial strip. Sure, I'll consider it. I'll consider anything, although I am good at considering stuff and still saying no.
I arrived at the location a bit early, for a change. There were crew, busy, setting up lighting and stuff. I was told to wait upstairs. Eventually other extras started arriving. One guy turned out to have worked on a short film I did over the summer. He said that's why we were called, because someone in this production was involved in the other one, so they had our names and details. A woman joined us. This was her first time being an extra. She asked me a lot of questions about it and I answered as best I could. Her biggest concern was finishing by 2PM. I informed her I was told 6-7PM finish and she seemed unhappy about that. She said she had only come because a friend had asked her to. She wasn't interested in acting, or being in films, or on TV. She said she would probably never do this again. I had forgotten to bring the chocolate bar I was planning to have for breakfast and they weren't feeding us till lunch. I was getting very hungry. The woman was going to nip out while we were waiting and buy herself a sandwich. She asked if I wanted anything, so I said, "A Snickers bar." She declined my offer of money.
When she returned, she had bought me a huge, double Snickers. She refused to accept any money and insisted on treating me. Wow, I ended up with a free Snickers bar. If I had known she was going to treat me, I could have asked for a sandwich. Nevermind. A production assistant soon turned up, asking us each our names and if we were general extras, or "choir." I knew nothing about "choir," but it turned out the woman was there to be in the choir. She was waiting in the wrong area and was directed to move to where the choir were waiting. It was good that I had gotten the Snickers bar out of her, first. Another guy form the short film showed up. This guy was even older than me. He was 68!
In a little while, we were called downstairs. We gathered in a group and were addressed by the director. He told us what the film was about. Apparently, it's a gay love story and comedy. For those of us stripping off, he said there would be no close ups of frontal nudity, because they were going for a 12A rating (which is sort of like a PG-13 in America). We were then told to move into position for the first scene we would shoot, so they could go some blocking and set the lighting, and whatnot. We were placed in a line, two by two. A kind of butchy looking woman, with short hair, was told to stand next to me. Later, another woman walked up and the shorthair moved up, talking with the second woman. Soon they were standing together and I was on my own. I started suspecting they were lesbians. Obviously, the shorthair is a lesbian who doesn't listen, because she had been told to stand next to me.
Soon, the 1st or 2nd AD came by and directed another woman into line, next to me. This woman was short, brown skinned, with short curly hair. I am not big on short haired women, but she had a very pretty face and nice lips. She started talking to me. It was her first time as an extra, too. Unlike the choir woman, earlier, this gal wanted to do extra work. She asked me a lot of questions about being an extra. "Just don't look at the camera," I advised, "unless they tell you to look at the camera." She thanked me for that tip. I thought she was young, maybe mid or early twenties. In the course of conversation, she, told me she was in her thirties. The more I stood there, talking to her, the more I started thinking I might like to go out with her. Then she asked me if I was married, had a girlfriend, or a boyfriend? I told her I was divorced and currently unattached. Surely, if she is asking those types of questions, she is interested, isn't she? Because she was standing on my right and was much shorter than me, and she was talking quietly, I frequently had to bend down to move my ear closer to her mouth, so I could hear her. I had a tendency to move my arm behind he back when doing so. It's not like I was trying to fondle her, or anything, just a natural movement. After several times, it started to feel like we were almost a couple. We were playing a couple in a line to go into an event. I started thinking about chatting her up. Suddenly, she said she was not a very tactile person and could I stop touching her. That's not good. I increased the distance between us. If she was trying to chat me up, that wasn't a very good way to go about it.
We finished shooting that scene and moved into another area. I drifted away from Miss touchy-feelie. All of a sudden, I spotted a familiar face. It was a model, Judith, from Uganda, who had also been an extra on that short film with me, over the summer. She had just turned up and missed the first scene. She said someone had called her that morning and asked her to come down. We were being positioned for the next scene, so she an I ended up standing next to each other. She is tall, with a great body, dark skin and dark brown hair that has been straightened. I told her what happened with Miss touchy-feelie. Judith wanted me to point Miss touchy-feelie out to her. I hesitated, thinking Judith might end up saying something to the woman, which I might feel embarrassed about. Finally, I relented. Judith and I discussed whether touchy-feelie was interested. Judith said she might have been, or might not have been. Inconclusive. Thanks Judith, I am no better off than I was without your input.
We were given a break while the crew got set up for the next scene. I sat back down with the two guys from the short film I had been sitting with, before. They had noticed me talking to Judith. They made admiring comments about her, also commenting on how dark she was. They speculated that she might be African. I said, "She's from Uganda, for Pete's sake, of course she's African." I saw the production assistant approaching Judith. I told the guys that Judith probably had no idea people were being asked to strip. "Watch," I said. Sure enough, Judith's jaw dropped. Now she knows.
Back downstairs to shoot the scene. I pointed out the short haired butchy woman and her longer haired companion, who was also dressed a bit boyishly. "I think they're lesbians," I said.
"I don't think so," Judith replied.
"Come on! Look how butch they look," I argued. "So, you didn't know they want people to strip, did you?"
"No," Judith repied.
"You going to?"
"No way!" Judith seemed adamant about ruling that out.
"Come on, be a sport. It will be fun," I tried to sound persuasive. Judith just gave me a look that indicated I wasn't succeeding. We were shooting the scene where people were supposed to strip off, for the first time. Initially, the camera would shoot us from behind. I was dressed in a suit and a shirt, with an undershirt, as they had advised us to dress in layers. I decided that I would take off my jacket and shirt, but that's it. I wasn't being paid enough to show my bits. The star of the film was stripping completely. None of the other principles were stripping, just the star. One of the principle females was this gorgeous, olive skinned woman, with long, brown hair. Judith admired her shoes, saying they were great heels. I looked at them. Red pumps. I agreed with Judith, the shoes were nice. It's good when you can agree fashions with a model. I asked Judith's opinion of the woman's dress. Although it fit her lovely, slimish form quite nicely, I thought the colors were awful and it looked cheap. Judith didn't agree. Later, the star commented that the female principle's dress looked like something off the rack at an inexpensive store. See? I'm not the only one who thought it looked cheap.
We did several takes of this scene. Some of the men striped completely naked. No woman did, but several took of tops down to bras. One woman went completely topless. Hey, it was the long haired butch woman. Her short haired companion only went down to bra. I indicated the to Judith and said, "see, the lesbians are going for it." While I was watching, they started cuddling each other. "See, Judith? I told you they were lesbians."
"Maybe it's just a friendly cuddle," Judith said.
"That's no friendly cuddle, they're going for it," I retorted. Then it was time for lunch. Reattired, we all walked around the corner to the catering truck. This was proper film catering, so we had a choice of hot meals. I got separated from Judith. After I got my food, I was looking for a seat. I found Miss touchy-feelie at a table on her own. I asked if I could join her and she agreed. We chatted during our meal. Could I overcome the earlier, tactile rebuff? Now that she had seen me talking to a model, was she more interested? Touchy-feelie admitted she doesn't read books. Not exactly an intellectual, then. Now I was starting to lose interest.
Back at the shoot, we did the stripping off scene again, this time with the camera shooting us from the front. Take after take after take. Finally, the director said it would be the final take. He came and joined us, saying he'd been challenged to join in. We did it for the last time. The director got completely naked. Oddly enough, two gay guys I had spotted earlier, with really fit bodies, didn't take off a thing. A couple of women in sexy dresses, who I thought would go for it, also didn't take off a thing. Another, very cute looking girl, with a sexy body, went completely topless and stripped down to just her panties. She had a plump ass and looked great. Judith took off her jacket. I wonder what this film is going to be like when it comes out?


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