Heaven’s Gate – Minute by Minute part 40 of 229

1 Aug

This is possibly one of the greatest ‘character speaks, crowd reacts with derision or agreement’ scenes in motion picture history. It takes a great degree of skill to direct your extras to nod and make “oh yes, indubitably” noises without looking hammy or over the top. All the moves are there. For derision they bust out the classics – Look to the people either side of you, shaking your head; look down to your lap as you shake your head and the oldie but goody; lean forward, shake your head and mutter something incomprehensible to the person next to you. For agreement, the moves are pretty much exactly the same, but substitute head shaking for head nodding and do it with a smile instead of a scowl. One extra just sniffed, which was a nice flourish. You don’t get paid for such improvisations – that was on his time.

For the aspiring extras reading this, it’s important to give your character of Crowd Member #7 (for example), a full and complex back-story. Just by the sudden audible drawing of air through his nose, I can tell the character was born in Canada and raised by a half-amphibian man named Clyde. Through swimming the lakes of Nova Scotia alongside his guardian, Crowd Member #7 developed a severe disliking for Clyde and icy water and moved south when he turned 19 ¾ . He took a job as a door-to-door salesman and married a botanist named Carrie, who he accidentally locked in a cupboard. He enjoyed the peace and quiet and Carrie had a thing for enclosed spaces, so they were both happy until Carrie suddenly exploded. Crowd Member #7 wandered aimlessly for many years until he caught a cold from a Burmese prostitute and found himself at a meeting with John Hurt.

Read the rest of Simon’s Heaven’s Gate odyssey by clicking here or here. It’s the same link, I just wanted to type some more. I get so lonely…

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