On Saturday morning, I drove to the Omni Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh to apply to be an extra in the soon-to-be-filming The Dark Knight Rises movie. Apparently, half of the city had this idea in mind as well.
The above picture is of that line at around 10:30 am on Saturday, and it wasn't entirely unexpected. Comic book websites picked up on it (http://www.superherohype.com/news/articles/167483-the-dark-knight-rises-open-casting-call), local TV broadcasts and newspapers were reporting it (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11156/1151514-60.stm), I was blogging about it (http://teddyandtheyeti.blogspot.com/2011/06/casting-call.html) and lots of people were talking about it (I...don't have a link for that...but it's true, trust me). Even so, I was surprised to see a literal quarter mile line waiting for me when I walked to the site. The human chain stretched across blocks, across streets of traffic, around buildings and corners. At several points, news reporters showed up to film the spectacle:
In all, I waited outside and in line with Larry and a few new friends (as they were in front of and behind me) for around five hours before I even made it into the hotel. Thank goodness the weather cooperated; it was neither oppressively hot nor was it raining, as it had been one or the other for much of the previous week. I don't think I could have made it in 90 degree weather dressed as I was with no water or shade, unless I was going for the role of "guy with severe heat exhaustion".
After waiting in line, I and the people around me were whisked away into the hotel's ballroom where we sat for another hour. Eventually, we heard from representatives of the casting agencies working on this movie. We filled out forms with contact information, measurements and even "special skills" (telepathy, in case anyone's wondering), we heard all about what not to do if we got called to be in the movie (no cameras, no cell phones, no bringing your dog with you), we got a picture taken and we were on our way.
I wore a suit and tie to this casting call, not because I wanted to exude any sort of professional image, but because the online instructions said to dress in character, and one of the groups was "businessman/woman". Surprisingly few other people did - the favorite outfit for the day seemed to be "Steeler jersey", which I totally get, and realize that a normal day in Pittsburgh might look the same. I was expecting/hoping to see someone show up in a full Batman costume, but two or three logo shirts were all I witnessed.
Extras will start getting calls, we were told, as early as the last week of June, and the movie will require between 2,500 and 3,500 extra roles. This might seem like pretty good odds to anyone signing up, but I'd estimate that there were right around 2,500 people there on this, the first day to sign up (there are three more days set for the hotel and continuous online registration). Naturally, I hope that I make the cut, and the fact that my job comes with summers off and previous extra-ing experience might help my cause a bit. I've got my fingers crossed; regardless, it was quite a day and quite an experience. Batman, Pittsburgh loves you.