Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Russians have buggered off without me!

What I haven’t heard.

Nothing, not a peep. No email, no phone call, no letter, no text. Left to figure it all out for myself that I am not to be in the movie. The reason I know without knowing, if you know what I mean, is that the friend of my friend, who told me about the casting for Anna Karenina, has already heard. She got an email saying she was in it. I didn't. It’s not rocket science. It has, however, given me a bit of a buzz, a far-off glimpse at the lights and action so I may just try again!!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Russians are coming

What I Did.

A few weeks ago a friend sent me an Open Casting Call for extras. The film being Anna Karenina. I have gone on castings in the past for adverts and theatre parts but never for a movie, so my friend and I decided to go. Even if we didn't get cast, we thought, the experience would be fun.

I started to get a little more excited when I googled the film and realised that this version of Anna Karenina was to be a big budget affair with big stars. Keira Knightly (she of the horsey underbite and porcelain skin) is cast as Anna and Jude Law as her long suffering husband Karenin. Aaron Johnson (young, handsome and scandelously married to old (journalist speak for 42!) artist Sam Taylor Wood) is to play the dashing Vronsky! Joe Wright directs and Tom Stoppard is writing the screenplay, so what I thought might be a small TV adaption, is actually quite a big deal.

I decided to get there early and woke up at 6:30 to get there for 8:30 with the casting beginning at 9:30. There were already about 60 people in the queue. I should rephrase that... in Britain and most of Western Europe, people know what a queue is and follow general queue etiquette. This was a casting for an adaption of a Tolstoy novel, therefore Russian, therefore a lot of Russians and Eastern Europeans had turned up. Russians and Eastern Europeans do not know how to queue. The first 60 of us happened to be British (obviously... early, well prepared with our coffee's and newspapers, in it for the long haul). We stood behind each other as we approached, the line slowly bending from the church entrance down the right hand side of the Church. At 9:30, the Russians began to arrive, took one look at this neat long queue and joined it at a right-angle. They joined at the bend in the line about 2 feet from the entrance! There were some very quiet (British after all!) cries of disgust and outrage and lots of harrumphing BUT we stayed silent and did nothing! I laughed as this old chap behind me said "Bloody Russians, you can't trust them!"

After about 10 minutes, the doors opened and we filed in. A woman came to the front of the queue and asked if all the professional musicians and classically trained singers could come forward. So suddenly a surge of people came forward. My early start became redundant pretty fast BUT it was also obvious that half the people surging to the front were not what they said they were, they were just queue jumping, again! The poor casting director kept asking "are you trained?" as each one came to the front and there was lots of shrugging and frowning as she realised many didn't speak much English. "I hope you're all telling the truth" she said half heartedly, laughing nervously "I don't want there to be any in-queue fights". Too late for that love!

3 hours later I was at the front of the queue, ready to meet Joe Wright himself. This is quite unusual... a Big Wig director spending time with the extras. I also think I was one of the only people to know it was him, only because I had googled him! I think if you lined up half the famous directors in front of you, you wouldn't recognise them. So there I was, in the chair next to Mr. Wright with 7 others. He turned to me first and said "right, tell me your name, where you're from and how you heard about today". I said "My name is Juliet. I'm originally from Hampshire but live in London and I heard about today from a friend at the BBC". Joe looked slightly puzzled, wrote my name next to my number in his notebook and sort of stuttered a "right, well, thanks, um, yup, thanks, ok and next". Blimey, not quite the reaction I expected. However, it became increasingly clear as he went around the room that I was the only Brit in my group. There were Polish Doctors, Russian writers, Czech singers... even a microbiologist from the Ukraine. Joe was fascinated with all of them, asking them about their countries', their hobbies and was furiously scribbling notes the whole time. Entranced he was. I thought, bugger this, and so as we left the room, I turned to him and said "It was a pleasure to meet you. You only have another 1000 or so to see" and giggled. I know, I know, I have no modesty, blatantly sucking up to the director but I thought best say something else as I was sooooooo unimportant! We then went to have our measurements taken and the costume woman said "Oh, you're English." Oh no. She then explained to me that the casting call was supposed to have gone out to Russian and Eastern Europeans only. Oh no, no wonder the director thought it a bit odd that I was Juliet from Hampshire. He was looking for eastern bloc, not home counties!! 

So, I'm not so sure I'll get a part but it was an amazing experience anyway, seeing the process and meeting a famous director. My only two saving graces are that one woman approached me speaking Russian so she must have thought I looked like one of them; the other is that most of the women there were young, tall, thin and beautiful. They must need an older, fatter average one, especially to bulk out the crowd scenes!!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

First Date Hell

What I Read.

I have recently discovered a hilarious website called: www.firstdatehell.com

Men and women sum up their awful first dates in one sentence. Genius. Here are a few of my favourites so far...

“went out with a guy who sent me a scanner pic of his penis the next day. Squashed against the glass, with his number written on it!”

“met guy at his flat, opened door in blue check fleece dressing gown and an electronic tag on his ankle, “Shall we just stay in?” he said.”

“I had one who pretended he was a widower! When I became suspicious he said “she's not dead *exactly*”?!

“I was once asked if I would, i quote “rub my bottom like mummy used to”.

“I had one who turned up, on a warm summer evening, in a huge arran jumper because he thought I'd like it, being Irish.”

“I bumped into my DAD on my date, who took one look at my 'date', looked at me and said, “you've got to be joking, Lorna”.


And just a few of my own...

On a blind date with a well dressed Greek bar owner, who whispered to me “You lucky lady, I'm wearing a pink G-string tonight”!

Out for a meal in a very smart restaurant, my date leant over my food, said "Ooh, yours looks good” and dipped his bread in my gravy.

Another blind date who had “no money on him” so I had to pay for everything and then kissed me goodbye three times as if pecking my face like a pigeon.

Out to dinner with a blind date with a man who used to be a sommelier and insisted on coming round to my side of the table and pouring my wine “correctly” EVERY single time my glass need refilling!

There are many many more but I will leave you hanging....

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Accident Prone

What I Did.

I have always been accident prone. Since I was a little girl, I invariably tripped over something, fell down something or bumped into something and nothing has really changed. I haven't grown out of it at all, in fact, my accidents these days seem to be far more extreme or unusual than the ones growing up. I know this because when I am sitting in Accident & Emergency describing what I have done to myself, I usually get laughter and incredulity from the Doctor, not sympathy.

A few of the things I have had to go to emergency for in the last 10 years are:

Falling off a pair of platform shoes and twisting my ankle.
Falling off stage whilst trying to entertain an audience of 3 and twisting my ankle.
Falling down a pothole whilst running alongside a friend's car and twisting my ankle.
Getting angry with a cupboard door and have it fall on my head, causing minor concussion.
Having a giant speaker fall on my head, at a gig, causing minor concussion.
Falling out of a tube train and breaking a bone a in my hand.
Yawning loudly and putting my neck out.
Sneezing and putting my neck out.
Sneezing, head-butting my computer screen and putting my neck out.
My osteopath athletically adjusting my neck (to fix the above) and dislocating my shoulder in the process.
Falling down stairs, breaking my fall by holding onto the handrail and dislocating my shoulder.

Last week, however, was one of my most bizarre accidents. I was trying to put a stopper into a large bottle of olive oil, at a friends house in Yorkshire. It was slightly greasy and I was struggling to hold it as I shoved with all my might. With a massive push, it suddenly slipped out of my hands, away from me and I punched myself in the chest with the recoil. I thought I'd just winded myself but a few days later, after walking with friends in the Lake District and wincing with pain every time I made a sudden movement, we realised it might be a bit more serious. My mother then came to the house, took one look at my forlorn face and took me to the A&E department at the local hospital. I was not only very embarrassed explaining what I'd done but to add to my discomfort, when the Doctor began to examine my ribs she said "Juliet, could you just lift your breast out of the way for me please?" Ok, things aren't as pert as they used to be! Humiliating...!

Prognosis.... I punched myself and broke my own rib! You can laugh, I can't, it hurts!