ed. note: This post was originally written for Radio923fm.com and published on 7.18.11.
If you’ve been paying attention to the news over the last couple months, you would have noticed that there are several movies being filmed in Cleveland this summer. On July 15-16, Marvel Studios was at Holiday Inn in Independence looking for extras for the new Avengers movie, set to film in Cleveland this August.
The producers need around 2,000 extras for the scenes filmed in Cleveland, and thousands of hopefuls lined up on Friday and Saturday to audition. I was present on the first day of auditions, lining up with over 1,500 other prospects to apply for a place in the movie.
Andrea Simakis of the Plain Dealer’s online blog put it best when she said the scene resembled “the site of a state funeral, with mourners dressed in their Sunday best: suits and ties, suspenders and fedoras – waiting in the beastly heat to view the body.” Temperatures neared 90 degrees, and the casting call asked for hopefuls to dress like office executives – clothing decidedly unsuited for the heat. Some remembered to bring umbrellas to keep in the shade somewhat, while others improvised umbrellas by tearing large leafy vegetation from the ground.
When I got there, the literally mile-long line stretched from the entrance to the hotel, snaking around the building, through the parking lot, and around a giant field behind the hotel, as seen in the picture, taken from the end of the line. Indeed, the line was so long that it was hard to capture that on film, unless one took an aerial photograph!
After five hours of waiting in line, I was given the chance to fill out an application, in a room with around 40 others. Everyone had their picture taken for the application, after casting coordinator MaryEllen Aviano of Marvel Studios explained that “if you didn’t like waiting all day today, than I suggest you leave – if you are cast, you can expect to be doing the same thing, in the Cleveland heat, for up to 14 hours a day.” The extras will be paid $80 for their first eight hours of work, with time and a half for all work beyond the first eight hours, with filming set for August 5th through the 30th.
Waiting in line may have been a little boring (and sun-burn inducing), but the tedium was reduced through conversation with some of my line-mates. The people at the audition had many different backgrounds, some with no acting experience, and some with movie credits to their name.
Just the group around me, there was one who had been an extra in past films such as Spider Man 2 and Transformers, and another whose acting and modeling career began when she was in college in the early 1980s. And still others, many others, who just heard about the audition on the news and decided to take off work to give it a shot, because after all, why not? Of course, many of the casual participants decided to give up after seeing just how slowly the line was going. Fortunately, those who decided to leave were given the option to apply online, though not all took the option to do so. (I think if I had known I would have been waiting five hours I might have considered leaving too. But the waiting wasn’t that bad.)
The Avengers movie is slated for a May 2012 release, in 3D, and will feature crossovers the characters from several of the recent Marvel movies, including Iron Man, Captain America, and The Incredible Hulk.