The Further Adventures of our Gossip Girl Extra
Part 2 of
Sasha Filimonov’s Gossip Girl diary. (Filimonov, a former intern at
W magazine, managed to get herself cast as an extra on the show.) Read her earlier entry HERE.
My stint as one of the 250 Gossip Girl extras lasted three days (for which I was promised the princely sum of $85 a day). Each morning after we arrived on set the extras handler would divide us into little groups, appointing names to each that were either wines or sweets (Merlot, Chardonnay, Mallomars, Fluffernutters, Oatmeal Raisins). The groups seemed arbitrary to me, as I could never discern any rhyme or reason to her method. The extras handler was rather gruff and seemed to enjoy treating us like the peons we so obviously were. At one point I overheard her telling one of my colleagues, “No one cares what you have to say. You’re not important.” I must confess, I did arrive fashionably late on the final day of shooting, which earned me a special scolding.
Going into the gig, I knew that I would be asked to sustain long bouts of silence during shoots and rehearsals. But I was surprised to see that it was the usuals (a.k.a. the SAG actors), who had the most trouble shutting up. During a take of a scene with at least a hundred extras, someone’s ringtone, “Girl, Put Your Records On” cut through the quiet like a knife. The director was not amused. Moments later, the shoot was disrupted by the loud snoring of an off-duty extra. It was a sound I had become accustomed to since many of the extras were prone to napping between scenes. During another shoot, as the cameras rolled and the entire theater was silent, someone began to cough dramatically. At first I thought nothing of it but then it continued to get louder and more erratic with gasps thrown in here and there. No one yelled “Cut” however. I have since stayed up nights wondering — were the coughs the work of an attention-seeking or tuberculosis-striken extra? Or had I just stumbled upon a dramatic Gossip Girl cliffhanger?
After one theater scene involving a “full audience,” meaning all of the extras were used, I was descending the stairs when I heard someone singing a little ditty. I turned to see an off-camera Vanessa and her handler singing and laughing together with Nate. I had to focus on not tripping over my dress to just make it down the stairs alive. The trio seemed so sprightly and charming, not like the jaded starlets of yesteryear a la Loco Lohan or Mushy Barton.
[See Sasha pictured at left] For my final scene, I was singled out of dozens of extras to walk in front of the camera because I was “the tall girl in the purple dress” — although I am only 5’6″‘. I had to walk directly in front of Dan, Nate and Vanessa without giggling or tripping (not a small challenge for me). Between takes I stood near them and observed. Vanessa often took out her Blackberry and started BBMing. At one point she commented that Nate seemed a bit tense so she gave him a friendly shoulder massage (note– this did not seem romantic in the least). Dan’s adorable personality had me smiling from ear to ear, as he kidded around with the director and crew. Alas, the lovely Blair was missing entirely from this posh opera outing. Perhaps she had enough of the bagels and lox with her diminutive step-father so jetted off to Paris to be with her argyle-wearing father and his gay lover?
Just like everyone else, I will be forced to wait for all of the juicy details…
Check back tomorrow for the third and final entry by our Gossip Girl spy.
See all the photos from W magazine’s Blake Lively cover story.
Click here to read the latest (genius!) Gossip Girl episode wrap-up on nymag.com