Public Enemies is a film about the bank robber John Dillinger, set in the 1930's. It stars Johnny Depp, and Christian Bale...amoung other outstanding actors. It is being filmed in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.
My experience started when I went to audition for and extra part back in early March. Auditions were to be held from 4-7pm on a Friday afternoon. The casting call stated that women should have their hair in curlers the night before, and come with the curls brushed out. Also all women should wear 1930's style clothes.....black/dark skirts or dresses, and an overcoat. Since I have short hair, I knew that the curling idea would be hard to do, so I had a few practice runs before I finally twisted and rolled my hair into what I hoped would be a perfect fit. (Sadly it did not look that great when I unrolled them the next day.) I got the day off from work, had some pictures taken, and garbed up in my "make shift" 1930's clothes. I headed down to the Italian Community Center (ICC) in Milwaukee, but got stuck in a traffic jam along the interstate. I arrived at the ICC at 3:55pm, only 5 minutes prior to when the casting call started. The line was so long that it went out the door, and 6 blocks down the street. I thought to myself, oh well this line will get moving when they open the doors. HAH!
I dont' know why I thought we'd be waiting inside, and from the look on everyone elses faces, I could see I was not the only one with that same thought. It was only 15 degrees outside, and here we all were in dresses, stockings, med-high heel shoes, and tiny little coats on. What made it worse was that the sun was fading quickly, and the wind was bitterly cold. I stood in line with a group of girls that were just wonderful. I made some small talk with them, and found out that 2 of the girls had previous acting experience and they both had agents. One of them had modeled for playboy, and the other had been in a few commercials and tv shows. I thought that they were both shoe-ins for the movie. They just looked great!
The only problem with standing outside in near to freezing temperatures (with a dress and open toed shoes) is well.....you begin to get cold! And cold we got!! After about 2 hours of waiting outside, people started to leave. The line was not moving forward, and the sun had dissapeared from sight. I begged one of the girls to stay with me, but she could no longer feel her feet, and left. For that matter, I could not feel anything from my knees down. Every step I took was excruciating, but I plodded on. Three hours into it, I was about 10 feet from the front door. The line stopped again. I knew it was only a matter of time before they stopped letting anymore people inside. It was aready 7pm....the time that they had listed as the end of the auditions. A lady pulled up a van next to the people waiting in line, and said that we could get in to warm up if we wanted to, and she would hold our place! How nice was that! However....I couldn't get in there fast enough, and was bum rushed by a mob of freezing girls. So I waited outside....freezing.....picking up my feet to keep the circulation going. No more than a few minutes went by when an ambulance pulled up to take somebody to the hospital for hypothermia. IT WAS THAT COLD!! A seat finally opened up in the van, and I jumped in. Two seconds later, the line started moving again, and I got pushed out of the van. So much for that.
I got back into line next to this nice lady and her daughter. The line kept going and going...and I thought THIS IS IT! I am finally getting inside. Then.......it stopped. Ugh....what now. I couldn't take the cold anymore, and I hobbled up to the front door, and the nice man from the casting agency let me in. I fell onto the floor, and someone came and covered my feet with a pair of snow pants. It was just at that minute they made an announcement:
"Sorry folks....Casting calls are over. We cannot let anymore people into the building. You can fill out a card and mail it in with your picture."
I could not believe it. I had just made it in. I got to my feet and followed the instructions to file into the hallway. I was surrounded by people dressed up in their 1930's outfits, and some that seemed like they just walked off the street. There was a very nice man that had come from Australia to audition. His wife lived in Wisconsin, so they were here for a few weeks, and they thought it would be fun. (I'm a sucker for a nice accent since I am from England) We waited another hour in the hallway before being shuffled into a large room where the casting company were set up. We all listened to a speech given by Joan Philo, and her assistant about what it was like to be an extra. Long....sometimes boring....sometimes fantasic.....learn to talk to the other extras.....don't ask to gome home or when you can eat....and then they apologized for how long it took to get us in the room.
I don't blame them at all. The casting company were incredibly nice, and each one of them greeted us as we split into 3 lines. We were put up against a white background, held a number in front of us, and asked not to smile. Then they took the picture.......and it was all over. I was happy about the whole experience....even though I thought at one point that I was getting frostbite. The entire time I was there I thought about how great it would be to be able to do this all the time. I don't mind waiting out in the cold....I don't mind line after line.....I don't mind making new friends, and have a blast. I just wish I would have brought myself a different pair of shoes to wear! hee hee!
Sadly I did not get called to be in the movie, although I do know quite a lot of people who did. So it makes me happy, and proud to wish them all good luck.