Michigan ExtrasL It’s All About the Movies

Hollywood continues to be developing in the State of Michigan, giving local residents the opportunity to make their mark in movies — even if they’re in the background.

For instance, Raised Alone is the first film short ever approved under the Michigan Film Incentives The independent short film tells the story an obsessed workaholic whose desire for his family’s finances overwhelms the desire to raise his neglected son Adam, who’s now a gifted and well-known violinist. Raised Alone was made on a $55,000 budget, as budding Michigan actors were being cast as extras for concert shoots for two days: Wednesday afternoon at the Redford Theatre on Grand River and Lahser in Detroit, and the next will be on Friday morning at the Cherry Hills School of Performing Arts in Inkster.

Despite the rise in unemployment and a falling economy, the passing of the Michigan Film Incentives bill in April are offering open doors for those interested in producing, writing, or appearing onscreen or the opportunity to set their own shop in making their movies, like Lee H. Maloney’s Snitch City, which was shot in the Motor City and will be released in 2009. The gritty urban crime drama follows three men — friends who are in organized crime that finds their loyalty being tested when one’s accused of being an informant to the police.

The comedy American Virgin has a crew that is mostly Detroit. The film, starring Saturday Night Live alum Rob Schneider, started shooting in Greekrtown a week ago. “There’s lots of local color and texture” said director Clare Kilner. “We’ve had some great locations, and it’s serving us really well.” Though Schneider completed his scenes Tuesday, filming will continue over the next several weeks, as extras are still being needed for shooting. For instance, 100 are in need to be dressed like going to an outdoor party for the shooting of Old Schillelagh from 5pm-5am; more information on it can be found through Kathy Remski’s Real Style Agency.

Though not being paid, several of extras are rewarded with gifts such as MP3 players and other electronic equipment donated locally by ABC Warehouse, which according to line producer Marvin Towns Jr., will get product placement in the finished movie. Even Virgin extras were starstrucked when meeting Schneider, who compliments them. “(In L.A.) they could yawn if they see Tom Cruise walking down the street,” the actor-comedian said, “but here, people are really excited. They couldn’t have been nicer.”

Garrett Godwin
Garrett Godwin is an entertainment journalist, who writes for NewsBlaze about television and people in the entertainment industry, from his home state of Michigan. Contact Garrett by writing to NewsBlaze.