NewsPub Notes

Pub Notes

Through luck or the accrual of frequent-flyer miles at The Globe, I got a call asking if I would be an extra in a movie scene to be shot at the bar. The movie is Trouble With the Curve, and as you know by now, Clint Eastwood plays an aging baseball scout whose eyesight is failing to the point that he can’t really spot the talent anymore. He takes his daughter (Amy Adams, Junebug) along on a last recruiting trip, and in our scene she gets to know a young man (Justin Timberlake, The Social Network) in a bar. John Goodman (everything) is in the film somewhere, too. I was supposed to sign a confidentiality agreement that I wouldn’t “spoil†the suspense by revealing what happens in that bar in that brief scene. I think I only signed the pay voucher ($8 an hour plus overtime), but I’m not the kind of guy who would ruin your fun, anyway. Suffice it to say that the bar scene involves Justin and Amy (no Clint), a bluegrass band from Atlanta, some cloggers from all over and a bar full of people dressed in plaid and denim, camouflaging almost the entire Globe staff, all of the owner’s family, some longtime Globe customers, a popular ex-mayor, a local investment counselor, a bunch of musicians and perhaps some of The Globe’s creditors.

As the week went on, and shooting progressed at various downtown locations, being on the inside became a much appreciated perk. I guess I have pretty much worked through my guilt at being there instead of Flagpole editor and Film Notebook writer Dave Marr, who would have savored every nuance of what was going on in that room and would have recognized all the famous talent operating behind the camera as well as in front of it.

That Wednesday, an hour after we got signed in around 4:30 p.m. and got our plaid shirts, they called “Lunch,†and fed us a smorgasbord of New York strip, chicken breast, blackened fish, fried jumbo shrimp, andouille-sausage pasta, a medley of vegetables, salads, pie, cake, bread pudding, ice cream. Fortified, we headed up to the holding area in the Georgia Theatre lobby. Eventually, I found myself at my favorite window table in The Globe, sitting across from one of the owner’s sisters. The Globe played its favorite role—a bar full of people. Their waitfolks circulated, replenishing the water in our beer bottles as we mouthed make-believe conversations, and between takes we hung out, discreetly watching the stars.

It is amazing that an industry as glamorous as movies can be so tedious. It is also a pleasure to watch people doing something they know how to do, even if you don’t know what they’re doing or why they’re doing it. What was going on inside The Globe just looked like very assured, competent, low-key people concentrating on their work. And that included Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake. They were working, and they focused on it with zero histrionics: two actors creating characters and hanging out between takes. You could see how much of their working life must involve just waiting with other actors and the occasional hair touchup.

The crew shot the whole scene with one camera. When from time to time they halted proceedings to move the setup, they’d send us back to the Georgia Theatre. As we came out of The Globe, there were crowds on the sidewalk, held back by the hardworking police. Everybody was watching the bar, hoping for a glimpse of one of the stars. I realized that a wiry, hardbitten older guy leaving The Globe could cause some false anticipation, but fortunately nobody mistook me for Clint.

Well, it was a lot of fun and very interesting, being on the inside, especially watching the cameraman dance the Steadicam in amongst the cloggers, which by then included Adams and Timberlake. (She’s a pretty good clogger.) She probably strolled around downtown the next day unnoticed in spite of her incredible acting chops. Poor Justin, unfortunately, got barricaded inside Wuxtry by a pursuing gang of teenage girls. Inside The Globe, though, everybody was cool.

The crew wrapped it up at The Globe around 11:30 p.m., just before overtime. We turned in our shirts and our pay vouchers and headed out for a real beer, sure that we’d pay more attention to the extras next time we’re at the movies.