in honor of the 10th anniversary of this film, made here in ann arbor, i’m reposting this blog from my past.
ever had one of those days? the ones that take a funny turn?
i picked up a movie from the library recently, ‘the five year engagement,’ and when i saw the cover, i remembered that i had almost been in it. by accident. really.
it was the summer and i’d walked downtown to meet my date. when i got to one of my favorite local townie spots where we’d planned to meet, i noticed there was a barricade, some roadie types, a sound system and all sorts of equipment set up outside. having lived here for more than a decade, i knew there was always a festival, parade or protest popping up, so none of this surprised me. it could easily have been for a street dance, a car show, or god knows what else, so i simply stepped over and around everything, and walked on in.
once inside, i looked around, it was a bit dark and hazy and didn’t see him there yet, so i sat down at an open table. while waiting, i noticed that something about the place looked different than it normally did, but i couldn’t quite put my finger on it. i then got a phone call from my date, asking where i was, and when i told him i was already where we’d planned to meet, he said he’d arrived, but couldn’t get in because it was closed off to the public, as they were shooting a movie there. and he wondered how i had gotten in.
ah – that’s when it all made sense and it dawned on me. i had unwittingly walked right into the middle of a movie set. i thought it was awfully dark for being the daytime, and things were moved around, and i heard someone yelling out something, but figured it was a bartender, and thought maybe they’d redone the place, trying to go a bit more upscale. i loved it just the way it had been though, a cozy, casual, old-school, welcoming place. all this went through my mind quickly and then i remembered, they’d been shooting in various locations around town for some weeks now, but it never occurred to me that i had crashed their party. i was suddenly an accidental extra.
i’m sure the only reason they let me on set in the first place, was because i’d ambled on into it like i was supposed to be there, (and i thought i was), so no one stopped me. and i was dressed like a townie, (since i was a real one), so i fit right in.
we laughed out loud on each end of the phone as i shared my revelation, and i casually got up and walked off the set and into the daylight once more, as if i was walking to my personal production trailer, only to find my date waiting in another location. where they were NOT in the middle of shooting a scene for a movie.
when i picked up the dvd at the library, a part of me somehow hoped to see myself in that scene, but not surprisingly, i was nowhere to be found, other than somewhere on the cutting room floor, perhaps.
“acting in’Star Wars’ I felt like a raisin in a giant fruit salad,
and I didn’t even know who the cantaloupes were.”
– Mark Hamill
image credits: universal studios, old town bar