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Thread: Extras on HBO

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    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    Extras on HBO

    Once in a great while, a man really has a chance to shine. Andy Millman is not that man.

    Ricky Gervais stars as Andy Millman, a frustrated Englishman in his 40s who gives up his day job to pursue acting, only to find that because of his age, blend-in appearance and complete lack of experience, he just can't land any juicy parts.

    Undaunted by failure and convinced of his "star" potential, Andy spends most of his days changing from costume to costume and hustling from set to set, stalking anyone who might somehow help him land a speaking role or, at least, a larger extra part in a scene. In an effort to make a rare on-camera impression, Andy often milks the scenes that he's in to get more screen time, but that strategy has a tendency to backfire.

    Andy must also contend with his inept and contemptuous agent (Stephen Merchant), who not only fails to get his client a speaking gig, but actually encourages him to quit acting and find another form of employment. It's clear that Andy would fire his agent (we never learn his name) in a heartbeat - if another agent would agree to take him in.

    Even when he's not working, Andy continues his quest, stooping to extremes to seek out invitations to "in" spots and celebrity parties that might expose him to directors, writers and bigger actors. But more often than not, he and his fellow extra, Maggie Jacobs (Ashley Jensen), spend their days ensconced in a green room with other extras, filling the time with gritty stories of their personal lives, all the while envying their A-list counterpoints. Occasionally they finagle a conversation with one of the stars, but these brief encounters have a way of coming back to haunt them. As for Maggie, her acting ambitions are tempered by a far more pressing need: to find a man (not Andy) who might make a suitable husband.

    As Andy and Maggie move from gig to gig, each episode features a different film set, as well as guest appearances by well-known actors playing themselves, including Kate Winslet, Ross Kemp, Les Dennis and Patrick Stewart.
    http://www.hbo.com/extras/about/
    --------------------------------------------

    Did anyone else watch the premiere tonight? I have to say, I haven't laughed that hard in a while! I thought it was even funner than My Name is Earl and I really liked that show. The whole bit with Kate Winslet coaching them in phone sex was hilarious. Then Kate talking about how she was only doing the Holocaust movie so she could win an Oscar Ricky Gervais is probably the funniest man on TV - the scene at the prayer meeting had me in hysterics. I'll definitely be tuning in next week....and telling everyone I know with HBO to do the same!
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

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  2. #2
    FORT Fogey Brandy's Avatar
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    Oh you're kidding! Thanks for posting about this. This, I have got to TiVo.

    I did some of this stuff back in the day. LOL Memmm-rieess...

    From the link:

    Andy must also contend with his inept and contemptuous agent (Stephen Merchant), who not only fails to get his client a speaking gig, but actually encourages him to quit acting and find another form of employment. It's clear that Andy would fire his agent (we never learn his name) in a heartbeat - if another agent would agree to take him in.
    Ok, well, the part later on about his trying to rustle up some lines (an under-5) or milk his time in front of the camera, and/or convince them to give him a line... that's all real, but - the paragraph above.



    Extras do not have agents. If he's not even in the union and/or not getting a single speaking role... Agents don't always even handle people getting under-5's. They NEVER handle extras.

    This guy would be listed with a calling agency. So the truth is even worse for him than this show... In real life, he'd be PAYING an agency to phone him up with extra roles - paying (unless a union gig- most aren't) barely subsistence wages (back in the day it was approx $40 a day usually no meals included) and lasting into the night in all sorts of uncomfortable circumstances (rain, mud, no bathrooms, no food, no chairs in the holding room, no lockers, you name it).

    So he'd typically list with a few calling agencies at least... Or he could join various extras-casting services around town and try dropping in or phoning them himself but most frown on that. You typically get called (cattle-called in for jobs) once/twice just after signing up - then no more (just too many new faces coming in for them to bother). Now if you luck out you can get calls from a casting director who likes you - or if you fit the show. TV shows are much easier to get called back on, much easier to get lines in, and a much easier gig all around - indoors, with dressing rooms (they'll sometimes let 'extras' use), and a cafeteria. Plus of course, bathrooms within hiking distance.

    Maybe they didn't want to make the poor guy have it so rough it would not be funny. The reality is closer to "They Shoot Extras, Don't They?"

    In any case though, no agent. Even credited actors have trouble getting an agent. Extras don't, period. I hope they show how nasty PA's are to extras, too...
    Last edited by Brandy; 09-26-2005 at 10:04 AM.

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    Can They Do It?? mrdobolina's Avatar
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    *note to self* Setup TiVo to record "Extras" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm". I totally forgot these two shows were premiering last night.
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    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    I'm bumping this topic because I think HBO is rerunning the first episode tonight. It is definitely a must see!

    Kate Winslet giving advice on phone sex and all the sex-talk euphemisms is reason enough to watch! She's my new hero.

    Please, someone watch this one so I have someone to discuss it with!
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

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    Lost Person ConfusedONE's Avatar
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    It made me not regretting getting HBO. It is a very good show!

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    Yoffy lifts a finger... fluff's Avatar
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    I'm dying to see this but I don't have HBO in Canada.
    I'm sure a Canadian channel will pick it up at some point.
    I hope so anyway because I'll be all over it when they do.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by fluff
    I'm dying to see this but I don't have HBO in Canada.
    I'm sure a Canadian channel will pick it up at some point.
    I hope so anyway because I'll be all over it when they do.
    Me, too. There is no Canadian channel currently scheduled to show it in the near future - I hope that changes soon.
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    NI FORT fan Belfastgirl's Avatar
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    Just like The Office I just don't find Ricky Gervais funny. His show got a big fanfare in Britain and lots of people seem to like it, but not me!
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  9. #9
    FORT Fogey Brandy's Avatar
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    I TiVo'd it.

    I loved it, and I could never quite watch an entire episode of The Office.

    This has lots more potential - the 'allure' of the film biz, the various settings they could come up with (something inherently strange in movie sets anyway), the various guest stars possible, plus, they had scenes off the movie set, as well. This one could last a long run.

    It has a lot in common with Curb Your Enthusiasm - a basically unlikable guy who never gets it right, but, you can't stop watching. Kate Winslet was very funny in her role, if a bit shocking - those words, in that costume. Which I'm sure was intentional on the writers' parts. Shame shame.

    A bit pushing the boundaries for me this episode, but, I think the show itself will be a winner.

  10. #10
    FORT Fogey Brandy's Avatar
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    Bump...

    TiVo'ing it and enjoying it.

    Tip: Set your TiVo to 'fiften minutes extra' if possible if you do a season pass... cos, sometimes their shows do'nt run on time! I got 5 minutes of Curb and then the ending of Extras was cut-off. Boooo.

    Clever show, though. People putting their foot wrong - why is that entertaining?

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