Breakfast for Dinner | All Blogs

Livin’ the dream

By Rachel Sauer

Towering over everyone in the whole world blesses one with a certain perspective: an appreciation for the vastness of the southern Utah sky, a sense of place underneath it, a realization that Melinda’s hair could best be described as “creamy.”

Seriously, it’s all buttery soft and shiny; I’d never noticed before. But now that I could look directly down onto the top of her head, I was inspired to ply her for grooming tips.

That would have to wait, though. We were going to be stars! Melinda can play the flute! I can make balloon animals! Our talents are legion! We were going to be in a Johnny Depp movie!

Oh, it is to laugh! Foolish Melinda and Rachel.

We were in Moab at the April 1 casting for extras in “The Lone Ranger,” starring Johnny Depp as Tonto. Currently shooting at locations throughout the southwest, the production will come to the Moab area around July. The film is scheduled for release in May 2013.

So, the call went out: extras needed! No acting experience required! An extra limb or a Cyclops eye would be a bonus!

Apparently, there will be some sort of circus/freak show scene in the movie. They wanted extras who are 7-foot-1 or taller, or weigh more than 400 pounds, or are dangerously thin, or can do that thing where you lie on your stomach, flip your legs up and over and put your feet on your shoulders.

Needless to say, neither of us can do that. But still: I’m extremely tall and Melinda’s kind of short. To accentuate this, I used up all my credit at the Encore Shoppe to buy a pair of Holstein-pattern five-inch heels. I about fell over from delight when I saw them, and in them I was 6-foot-6. Melinda wore flip-flops to accentuate the fact that, well, she’s five feet tall.

Our hearts were merry when we set out from Grand Junction. We had this in the bag! We even were undaunted by the horrendous line that greeted us at the Moab Valley Inn, where the casting was being held.

Fill out this form, you say? No problem! We had our measurements, our addresses, we were scrupulously honest about our nationalities (*ahem* lady in line behind us claiming to be Italian). Then, the part of the form that asked us to list our special abilities. This, it seemed, would be the make-or-break in our careers as non-speaking extras.

I’m not sure what, exactly, we were thinking. I listed that I can write Chinese and do yo-yo tricks, like these skills would ever be called upon in an extra. Melinda offered that she can play the piano and snowboard.

And here’s the thing: We are talented. There’s lots of stuff we can do. But we got caught up in the whole atmosphere and suddenly wanted to prove that we are weird. Or, if not weird, unique!

Which may or may not be true, but we were vanilla pudding and graham crackers compared to the kid who would do this flippy thing where he spun sideways in the air. For real. The people from Sande Alessi Casting, the agency casting extras for “The Lone Ranger,” asked to see people’s talents, and Katie bar the door! There were incredible gymnasts. There were contortionists. There was a guy with a whip. There was a man who claimed his dad had a Ph.D in clowning (his mom only had a master’s in it; maybe she sacrificed her dreams to put her husband through clown college).

Oh. Well. When the casting agent got to Melinda, she was… short. When she got to me, I was… tall.

But still, that’s good enough for us. On the day-well-spent scale, we’d give it an enthusiastic 10. We got to hear a woman bark like a dog and be answered by a real dog in return. We got to see a lady almost fall over as she forced her leg behind her head. We got to see creatively whimsical facial hair and big-hearted charmers with Hollywood dreams.

And we got to have a delicious lunch afterward. Plus, how’s this for a special ability: We can laugh to the point of hysteria, with a mouthful of onion rings, and not pass out.

Who needs the Lone Ranger?


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