From business owners to movie buffs, to college students and city workers, many people in Cape Girardeau found some way to interact with the Fox Century production of “Gone Girl.”
Several City Employees and Council members had an opportunity to shine in the spotlight as extras for the film. A few of the staff members who shared their stories were City Council Member Dr. Wayne Bowen, City Manager’s Office Administrative Secretary Beth Little and Public Works Fleet Supervisor Mike Tripp. They played the roles of “TV reporter,” “volunteer searcher,” and “garbage man,” respectively.
Bowen decided to audition at his wife’s suggestion. He was once an extra for a made-for-TV movie, “Family of Spies,” which came out in 1990. After being chosen as an extra in “Gone Girl,” Bowen received his assignment as a TV reporter alongside several dozen other reporters, cameramen and other crew. According to Bowen, his job was to rush forward in a specific scene outside the fictional North Carthage Police Department. Bowen worked as an extra on the set from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Bowen said that on the day of filming he and his wife took a bus from the Show Me Center to the area outside the former federal courthouse in Cape. After checking in, they waited approximately an hour, ate breakfast with the other extras, and then dressed for their scenes.
“We then rehearsed the scene a dozen or so times with some of the assistant directors,” said Bowen. “Pretty soon, the stand-ins started joining us, then eventually the director and some of the principal actors.”
The producers provided Bowen with a tie, but he was asked to wear his own suit. He said he lost track of how many times the scene was rehearsed and then shot. Bowen said he saw actors Ben Affleck, Tyler Perry and Director David Fincher.
Bowen said he would be happy to partake in the experience again and that both he and his wife enjoyed it very much. Bowen also commented saying that “Gone Girl” has been great for Cape Girardeau. He hopes that Hollywood might consider Cape Girardeau as a future destination for additional projects.
Tripp had a slightly different view on the experience. He didn’t originally audition to have a role in the film, but was more assigned a role once the producers requested to have another employee in the film. It began with producers asking to borrow a city refuse truck, and then they asked for two drivers. Because of Tripp’s availability, he was asked to join the set. He worked as a garbage man along with co-worker (and co-star) David Witte. Tripp drove the truck while Witte was the employee outside dumping the garbage.
Witte and Tripp filmed on Keystone Drive, where they watched Ben Affleck take the trash cart to the curb approximately 25 times. They then backed the trash truck into place and picked up the trash cart. From there, Tripp watched while Ben Affleck brought a trash can to the curb outside his house, then police searched the can, and finally Witte dumped the trash into the truck. Tripp then was asked to pull forward and back up repeatedly to get the braking noise of the truck on tape.
“Tuesday morning we showed up around 5 a.m. to get ready, and then they shot our scene around the 7:20 a.m.-7:45 a.m. time frame,” said Tripp. “Then we were sent back to turn our clothes in and were ready to leave by about 8:30 a.m.”
Tripp and Witte’s process for wardrobe, hair and makeup was slightly different than Bowen’s experience. They wore their own boots and brown pants, but were supplied with white T-shirts, khaki button up shirts and an orange safety vest. After dressing, the make-up artists made the men look dirty by using a substance that “looked like and smelled like vacuum dirt,” according to Tripp. Makeup crew members also took a some black powder and rubbed it on Trip and Witte for additional dirt.
According to Tripp, Witte really enjoyed the experience; he enjoyed eating breakfast and talking with other extras and people doing different jobs with the movie and that he [Witte] would definitely do it again. Tripp said it was a new experience but he unsure whether he would do it again.
Little was hired after an open casting call at Rose Theatre. She was chosen for the role of “volunteer searcher.” Little was involved in the filming at the conference room in the Drury Lodge for two days. She worked from 6:30 a.m.–8:45 p.m. on the first day and from 8:30 a.m.– 9:30 p.m on the second day.
Little said her scenes were supposed to take place in the “search headquarters.” One scene involved a confrontation between Affleck and a hoard of women including Missi Pyle and Kim Dickens. On the first evening of Little’s filming, Neil Patrick Harris arrived and filmed scenes for about three hours. Little said she also was around David Clennon, Carrie Coon and Leonard Kelly-Young, all of which she admitted having to look up on IMDb.com. IMDb, Internet Movie Database, is an online database of information related to films, television programs and video games. On the second day, Little said the scene primarily involved a press conference with Affleck and Rosamund Pike.
During her second day filming Little said she “was instructed to stand behind them [Pike and Affleck] looking teary-eyed and proud. At one point, I was told to gaze up into the eyes of the man beside me, my husband, when they kiss – it was the single most corn-ball thing I’ve ever had to do.”
Little says she hopes that particular scene doesn’t make it into the final film.
Little describes her time filming as physically exhausting. She said there were large bulks of time that were tedious and boring, but that she was extraordinarily fortunate to have had such interesting views of the film. If given the opportunity Little “would do it again in a heartbeat.”
Be sure to keep an eye out for the Fox film, which may be released in fall 2014.