As any of you who follow my Twitter feed know, I was cast as an extra in “Magnus Rex” the super top-secret codename for the new Batman flick, The Dark Knight Rises.
It sure is a good thing they used this codename, because I think it took an entire 15 seconds before every film-fan site on the entire Internet had clearly explained what it meant, so all of us cast in the show were sworn to secrecy about something that was public knowledge. But you have to keep in mind that I’ve worked for the government for over 15 years, so I’m totally used to being required to keep secrets that are all over Wikipedia.
I was part of a small group of “extras plus” drawn mostly from military and law-enforcement backgrounds. We were given 2 days of fight choreography training/rehearsal and then formed the group of extras closest to the stars during the shooting of the movie’s big fight scene. With over 1100 extras total, and the camera focussing on the stars, I didn’t expect anyone to be able to see me in the actual movie. I haven’t seen it yet (waiting for the crowds to thin out a bit), but my friends are all dutifully informing me that if I’m in there, they sure as hell can’t find me.
But now, after careful forensic analysis by my fight-partner in the film (US Marine and actor, Tyler La Marr), I have found photographic proof that I was there – or rather, a pixellated, barely visible blob that I’m sure is me. I was glad to be matched up with Tyler during the fighting. Cinematic fighting can be dangerous, especially when you’re working 12-16 hour days and exhausted. When that happens, you miss a lot. And by miss, I mean hit. Suffice to say that both of us cracked one another good a few times over the course of the shoot, and I was lucky to have someone else disciplined and slow to anger as a partner. He was also kind enough to hold me up and faux-gut-punch me as I rested during the longer shots.
But Tyler truly proved his worth when he shot me a message after the below poster was published. He said his girlfriend had spotted us on the poster, and he posted a shot of it to Facebook. I stared at it for a while. “That’s crazy,” I said eventually. “You can’t make anyone out.” Tyler had been in a Gotham cop’s uniform, and I was dressed as one of Bane’s thugs. We all looked the same. “Top of the stairs, dude!” Tyler said. “Away from everyone else.”
And lo and behold, it jogged my memory. Much of our fight scene had been shot on the steps of Federal Hall on Wall Street. We’d gotten tired of being knocked around by the other extras in the scene, and moved as far up the steps as we possibly could to get away from everyone.
And I know for certain we were the only pair using the hall’s pillars as part of our fight sequence.
So, yeah, it had to be us.
Every man has his 15 seconds of fame. Here’s mine. No matter what else happens in my life, I’m the washed-out, fuzzy, barely-visible blob punching the other barely-visible blob (up against the pillar) in the face. I’m fairly sure that’s the “1” out of 4 punches in our “sequence 1” that we choreographed in training. Come to think of it, that might even be one of the times I screwed up and really hit Tyler, and he kindly and patiently elected not to whoop my ass for real.
I’ve read comic books all my life, with Batman as an absolute mainstay. Now I’m part of the legend. Blurry, distorted, totally unrecognizable. But part of it. Going to see the movie tomorrow. Sure hope it’s good.