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Extra, extra

Category: Law Abiding Citizen News
Article Date: December 21, 2008 | Publication: South Philly Review | Author: Amanda Snyder
Source: South Philly Review

Posted by: admin

Hollywood hopefuls were front and center Saturday trying to land camera time in a Jamie Foxx film to be shot around the city.

Matt Shantz may not be the actor in the family, but he decided to have some fun Saturday morning. His 12-year-old son, who has a private acting coach, had received an e-mail about a casting call for “Law Abiding Citizen” that is to be set and shot in Philadelphia.

When Heery Casting held the open auditions for extras ages 18 to 70 for the psychological thriller starring Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 13 at Southwark House, Front and Ellsworth streets, the result was some friendly family competition.

“He said I better not get the part because he’s been practicing more than I have,” Shantz, from 13th and Porter streets, said with a laugh.

But the overall competition to snag a spot in the F. Gary Gray-directed feature was fierce with about 800 hopefuls, including union and non-union actors, vying for camera time. Each was asked to bring a photo along with contact and size information. Some that casting director Diane Heery, from Heery Casting at 408 Vine St., thought could be used as a stand-in for one of the leads or in a featured role, such as a prison guard or a cop, had another picture taken.

When Bullies Sports Bar and Restaurant at the Wachovia Spectrum, where she held the “Transformers” casting, was not available, Heery chose Southwark because of its accessibility and convenience.

“We can line people along the street and not annoy people,” she said. “There’s free parking under 95 and decent public transportation.”

She recalled past calls where 3,000 people turned up within five hours for pictures including “Invincible” and “Rocky Balboa,” where temperatures at 10 degrees did not deter those in the line that was six deep and ran three blocks.

Not everyone is cut out to be an extra, Heery said, believing it takes a particular type.

“People who really enjoy being in the movie-making process, because it’s going to be cold,” she said.

Acting for six years with extra work in movies such as “In Her Shoes,” “Annapolis” and “Invincible,” Sonia Vitullo said she really likes being involved in films.

“I try to get a part in any movie I can. It’s good to be on set and see how movies are made,” the resident of 15th and Ritner streets said.

Joan Dow, who grew up at Sixth and Dickinson streets, but now resides in Bensalem, enjoys spending her retirement with her husband on movie sets, adding, “It’s something to do together.” As an extra in the Mark Wahlberg-starring “Shooter” and “The Happening,” Dow has never spied herself onscreen, although she has seen the back of her husband’s head in “Shooter,” she said.

Shadia Chandler is looking to advance her career, having been a model, so she came out Saturday to her first casting call.

“I hope it’s a lucky time,” the resident of 23rd and Mifflin streets said.

Kisha Walker, who grew up at 20th and Morris streets, heard from a co-worker about the auditions. Having had roles in “Life Isn’t Fair” and extra work in M. Night Shyamalan’s “Lady in the Water,” she said she would love to get some more screen time.

“I’m a superstar in my own right,” the confident Center City resident said.

Tony Luke Jr. has graced many a silver screen, including a memorable stint as a caped superfan in “Invincible,” and the owner of the sandwich shop at Front Street and Oregon Avenue made his debut in 1996 in the Robert Redford-Michelle Pfeiffer film “Up Close & Personal.” He continued to make his mark with roles in “10th and Wolf” and as the lead in “The Nail: The Story of Joey Nardone,” set to be released in April. After dropping off sandwiches for Heery and her crew, he hopes to land a role — though a departure for him in type — in “Citizen.”

“I auditioned about two weeks ago for one of the lead killers,” Luke said.

The film is dark in tone, with Butler’s captured murderer threatening Foxx’s assistant district attorney with a killing spree across Philadelphia if he is not released. Filming will run from mid-January to March, Heery said. Locations are expected to include City Hall and Holmesburg Prison in the Northeast.

“City Hall for sure,” she said. “[The filmmakers] will be all over.”

Shots, she told he extras, would include plenty of exteriors in the biting winter weather and workdays could last up to 14 hours.

“It’s January and February in Philadelphia outside at night, so make sure you get long johns for Christmas,” she said to each group.

Heery’s cautions didn’t faze the crowd and she expects to use a large number of extras for this movie.

“On these particular projects, we need about 1,200 man days of work,” she said.

While Heery Casting always looks for reliable people, she is predominately seeking men for cops, prisoners, detective and similar roles this time around.

“If you’re a guy who is 30 to 50 and looks good in a uniform, you have a good shot,” she told the hopefuls.

Casting for speaking parts was previously held with some Philadelphians likely to show up on the big screen.

“We’ve been working on the speaking roles for a couple months,” Heery said. “Out of Philadelphia, we’ll have about 25 to 30 speaking roles.”


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