CARL KOLOGIE: Fascinating experience at KCAC
It will probably end up on the cutting room floor, but what the heck, it was still a fascinating and fun two weeks.
What an experience. I was there with upwards of 400 others who had visions of getting a fair share of screen time in the movie “Southpaw” that was being filmed for the past 12 days at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex on Wayne Avenue.
Being an extra in a movie production may sound glamorous, but from the time you are enlisted, the casting crew warns that there will be 12 to 15 hour workdays and many hours of down time.
There was no doubt about that as extras were dismissed most days shortly after midnight, but in order to meet the schedule, the last few days of filming went into the wee hours of the morning, as late as 3:30 a.m.
And, as you would expect, the “natives were restless” on these occasions especially.
But for the most part, it was exciting to be up close and personal with the stars of the film, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker and rapper Fifty Cent.
It was most impressive to me, watching the celebrities at work.
They also had to endure the 12-15 hour workdays and were intense and into their characters.
It was nothing for Gyllenhall — the star of the show — to cut a scene short, talk with the directors and other actors, and then start all over. He demanded perfection and it was evident that once into his character, he wanted to be the best and expected that from his counterparts.
But between scenes he displayed a keen sense of humor and a sparkling personality chatting with the crowd and those around him.
Several other noted screen and television personalities made appearances. Jim Lampley, HBO announcer, did some commentary along with his analyst partner, Roy Jones Jr., a former fighter who held both the middleweight and heavyweight titles.
Notable among with consultants was former world welterweight champion boxer-turned-actor Victor Ortiz.
As most moviegoers know, the film is about a boxer and the KCAC provided the ideal venue.
Beginning with the large arena, it was the perfect setting for a boxing ring, the large entry hall in the KCAC was ideal for serving meals. Toretti Auditorium was perfect for a waiting and staging area, and the many rooms fit the bill for wardrobe, makeup or any other need in producing the film.
And, as you would expect, the area received a huge economic boost as motel rooms were filled to capacity as many of the extras came from as far away as Ohio, Maryland and many from the Pittsburgh area.
Restaurants, food and retail clothing stores and other businesses, such as dry cleaners, did a reportedly booming business for the past two weeks.
Talking to many of the out-of-towners, they were greatly impressed with Indiana and Indiana County.
And who knows, maybe other film production companies will follow.
And for your information, you can still sign up as an extra as the next two weeks the movie will be filmed in the Pittsburgh area and more people are needed. Get on the internet and call up www.movieextraspittsburgh.com.
Regardless, it was a great experience.
See you in the movies.