Tuesday, August 9, 2016

My "Animal Kingdom" Story

Well... That title is, admittedly, a bit of an exaggeration. ;-)


You may have noticed on my social media that I am a fan of the TV show entitled "Animal Kingdom." It airs on Tuesday nights at 9:00 on TNT. Tonight is the Season 1 finale, and you should definitely tune in. Or, if you are hopelessly behind, you can catch up on episodes online.

"Animal Kingdom" is not for the faint-of-heart. You have been warned. But, it is a fantastic story!

Now, back to the title of this post and what it means.

"Animal Kingdom" films on location in Oceanside; and one day, there was a casting call for local background actors. I found out about this casting call from my friend, Sharon. She posted it on Facebook, because (I think) she knew I was interested in the show. So, being that I am the rather odd duck that I am, I decided to show up for it (even though I am a simple suburban housewife). I have always kind of had this "actor fantasy," because playing pretend is a ton of fun.

And lo and behold, Bridget and I found ourselves on the set of "Animal Kingdom" as it was shot in and around the Oceanside Pier. It was a great and fantastic day! So much fun! I feel SO blessed!!!

We arrived early in the morning and filled out forms. Then we got sent to wardrobe. I had no idea we would get sent to wardrobe, because we were playing "tourists" and were told to wear outfits that typical tourists would wear. I guess we failed in our clothing choices, though, because the production assistant sent us to wardrobe. And -- boy -- did we end up looking like tourists! I have never been dressed by a wardrobe professional before, and it was great fun! The lady and man in charge of costuming people were amazing! They had two giant trailers full of clothes and hats and handbags and accessories -- and they knew where EVERYTHING was. And they quickly sized Bridget and I up -- both literally and figuratively -- and gave each of us two wardrobe changes and told us exactly how to put them on and take them off and carry them around so that we could get ready in public without flashing anybody. (Actually, I think I may have failed once in the goal of not flashing anybody, and I sincerely apologize. Everyone was very polite, though, and acted like they hadn't seen anything. Not that there is anything worth seeing, anyway.)

After our wardrobe adventure, Bridget and I were greeted by Shawn Hatosy, who is one of the lead actors in "Animal Kingdom." Shawn played Sammy Bryant in "SouthLAnd," which is my favorite show of all time. Bridget and I had met Shawn before, because we saw him in a play in Los Angeles, entitled "Reasons To Be Pretty." We had the privilege of meeting him after the play, and he is the utmost of wonderful gentlemen. He knew that we were going to do background work that day, because I communicated my excitement about it to him via social media.  As he was at "base camp" at the same time we were, he came out of his trailer (at least I think that's where he came from) to say hello. I got so excited when I saw him that I threw my arms around him and gave him a big hug, thus breaking my very own rule about not hugging celebrities, unless they initiate it. Shawn was very kind about it, though, and seemed unfazed. He did give me a rather quizzical look, but I think that was because of the "tourist" costume I was wearing, which is not at all the kind of clothes that I usually wear. I looked like a middle-aged, mid-western woman who had come SoCal for vacay and took a rather misplaced stab at wearing SoCal fashion. And it was really the perfect look for the part I was playing -- the part of "tourist," which basically implies that you are not local and, thus, might be rather clueless about local customs and fashions. Shawn quickly recovered himself, though, and chatted briefly with Bridget and I before we went on our way. I actually wasn't really expecting to see Shawn, so it was a special and incredible treat to encounter him.

And now that I have dragged middle-aged, midwestern women, I will continue with my story... (Mea culpa, middle-aged, midwestern women. Mea culpa.)

After our Shawn encounter, Bridget and I were directed to board a van with a bunch of other actors and surfboards, and were driven down to the pier. (The show is about hot robber guys who surf and their nefarious, yet hot, middle-aged mom, so that is why there were surfboards in the van.) We offered to walk, because it wasn't very far, but the production assistant seemed to be very much afraid that we would get lost. And -- if you know me -- you will know that his fear was probably quite justified. So, into the van we got. One of the stars of the show was in the van with us. His name is Jake Weary. I didn't know that he was one of the stars of the show, but I did notice that he shone with wondrous beauty. If you ever meet a lead actor in a TV show or movie, you will see that they all shine with wondrous beauty. They are all naturally stunning creatures to begin with and then they are worked on by all the finest beauty people in the world -- and they just gleam. And -- believe me -- Jake Weary gleams like the star that he is. He was sitting in the seat in front of me in the van, and was very humble and nice. Live long and prosper, Jake. ;-) I was sitting next to one of the make-up artists in the van. She was really awesome and fun. She even sprayed me down with sunscreen when we got to the set. So, now I can say that I have been worked on by a professional Hollywood make-up artist.

Bridget and I were in two scenes filmed on and around the pier. During one of the scenes, we had to stroll down and around the end of the pier and then sit down on one of the cement bench-type things that are under the pier and pretend to have a chat. We were directed by one of the assistant directors, while the principal director directed the main actors in their scene on the beach. Unfortunately, Bridget and I did not have that scene make it into the final cut of the show, which was probably my fault. During one of the takes, I misunderstood the assistant director, and started to walk before I was supposed to. I quickly realized this, and turned around to walk back to my "mark," but in the meantime the action started. So, I wheeled around and started walking again, as I was supposed to for the "action." Bridget was pretty much doubled up laughing at her mum. But, anyway, that scene did not make it into the show. I don't know why, though, we looked pretty dang "touristy." ;D

Our second scene was up on the main part of the pier. We walked along the pier to the rear of the principal actress who plays Alexa.  In the scene, Alexa is going to meet the nefarious lady cop, who is pumping her for information about the criminal, yet very hot, Cody boys. The nefarious cop is not at all impressed with the hotness of the Cody boys, and just wants to see them all put behind bars for the rest of their lives. Alexa is her key to the putting away of the Cody boys, but if you want to find out why, you need to watch the show. I am NOT going to tell you. And just so you know, the lady who plays Alexa is tall and slender and beautiful. Bridget was afraid that we would look fat walking behind her in the scene. And this scene did, in fact, make it into the final cut of the show. And Bridget, upon seeing it, said, "Wow! We don't look fat, AT ALL." Anyway, when you watch the show and you see Alexa striding all tall and slender and beautiful -- though nervously, because she is going to meet up with the nefarious lady cop -- down the Oceanside pier, you will see Bridget and I behind her, dressed in our outstandingly put-together tourist costumes.

And this leaves me with one final tale from our day on the set of "Animal Kingdom." As those of you who know her will attest, Bridget loves to be barefoot. It is a struggle to get her into shoes. I really don't even try, anymore, being that she is all grown up. Anyway, she was shoeless up there on the Oceanside Pier. During the second scene we participated in, we were walking on the wooden portion of the pier. The assistant director noticed Bridget had no shoes on and sent her back to the beach base camp area to get them (as that is where she left them), because he was afraid she would get splinters in her feet. (They are very protective of you when you work on TV shows. They don't want you getting sunburned or injured, and they are really careful with you. And it is SO lovely.) Bridget was afraid to miss out on doing the scene, so she ran as fast as she could down the pier, toward the beach. The above-mentioned Jake Weary (principal actor and star) happened to be jogging along in front of her, back to the same place. As Bridget tells it, Jake spotted her, looked a bit alarmed, and started running faster. He kept checking over his shoulder to see if she was still running towards him, looking more and more alarmed. Finally, he shouted to her, VERY POLITELY, that he was going to the trailer (or something like that). She then realized that he thought she was some crazy female fan in hot pursuit of his hotness, so she told him that she was a background person and the AD had sent her back to get her shoes. This made everything okay. All was well, and Bridget -- with shoes on her feet -- managed to get back to the pier on time for the scene.

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed this post. Bridget and I so much enjoyed our day as background peeps on "Animal Kingdom." We will never forget it. And thinking about it will always make us smile. :-)

1 comment:

  1. This is SO COOL. I can't wait to see it :)