As many of you may know, John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers will be starring in a new Luc Besson production titled From Paris with Love, directed by Pierre Morel. The film is currently filming in Paris and has received a bit of press concerning recent issues. Production of the film was originally set to be in the Northeast suburbs of Paris in Les Bosquets de Montfermeil, a notoriously impoverished area and one of the toughest housing project areas in Europe. After 10 cars were burnt and crew members threatened, production was obviously stopped. The London Independent reported that police were investigating reports that the cars were set afire after the producers refused to pay a local gang “protection money.” In any case concerning the situation, these areas around Paris have been explosive over the last few years with similar types of reactions over various issues. Now production is back underway and and better safety precautions are being taken.
According to IMDb the plot is that a young embassy employee hooks up with an American spy in Paris. I hope not to give a spoiler but there is a scene in this film at an airport. I can say this with confidence because I was there last night and into the early morning hours in my motion picture debut as an actor. Well sort of, an extra at least. It seems that I fit the qualifications to pose as an American tourist coming to France. Hmm, imagine that. I had the opportunity to take only a couple of photos with my iPhone to remember the experience and share here, nothing very interesting and certainly not reveilving.
I saw a posting for the job on the Craig’s List website and thought why not, it could not hurt to try. Actually getting myself on the set of a major production was an important step to our own venture. I hoped to have the opportunity to make a connection or two in the industry. I was told there would a lot of waiting around and doing nothing, but it was no where near as bad as I expected. I studied the crew at every chance and tried to absorb as much of the atmosphere as possible. I was very impressed, I thought they were very efficient and professional. Unfortunately there were no stars on hand last night. Apparently Meyers could not be there last night for some reason or the other, which required us to take many shots with a green screen for later shooting. I was very pleased to see this in operation. I paid particular attention to the equipment used and placement of lighting. Thinking all the time how we could emulate similar situations for ourselves. Fortunately Samantha has also been on the set. She was an invited guest of director Josée Dayan in the filming of Les Liaisons Dangereuses a French TV mini-series. So we both now have had a taste of the “big time” and both of us are eager to achieve our own dreams. I don’t think I came away from the experience with a sure fire hook-up to open all the right doors for us, or gained some kind of valuable work experience, but I did get a little compensation and had the opportunity to hang out and share some laughs with fellow figurants (extras). Maybe most of all, I will never have to say again, “yes, this is my first time”. Amoungst the extras I met was a guy from Spain named Yann Soitiño. He has one of those rare and unique jobs that many of us envy. He was an extremely helpful and friendly, you can check out his website at http://swordmaster.eu/). I also met two really nice and interesting guys from Australia, who like me were newbees on a big production set. One of which is Ben Phillips (A graphic designer currnently staying in Paris). Also, a fellow by the name of Gregoire, who’s last name I’ve misplaced in my mind, maybe he will email me sometime and I’ll update this post. He is here in France under similar circumstances of myself, that is he fell in love with a French woman. All of these guys made the experience a lot more comfortable for me and I appreciated having someone able to traslate the things I didn’t understand. They helped fill the holes that my sporadic French skills left behind. In summary I would like to just say that I hope I don’t end up on the cutting room floor.