A few weeks ago I found out I was going to be an extra in Run For Her Life, the movie that was filming in town. I was told over the phone to bring a few different outfits and my vehicle, and to be at the West parking lot at 6 a.m. Of course I didn’t object to the early hours, even though I hadn’t gotten up that early in months. I mean, who cared? I was going to be in a movie!
I arrived the next day to a free breakfast and chatted a bit with the other extras, who seemed to be just as excited as me. Eventually, I was sent to wardrobe, where a woman chose an outfit out of my bag for me to wear. Another lady passed by me and said, “I’ll find you later. I’m gonna make you look more...dirty.” I found out that I was going to be a driver and having dirt thrown on my clothes and rubbed into my skin wasn’t necessary, since I was just going to be in my car.
The first few hours were exciting. My New Mexico license plate was replaced with one from Chihuahua, and I got to drive my van around the plaza about 10 times. I wanted to see someone famous, but the main star was a stranger to me and it turned out that most people didn’t seem to know who Dermott Mulroney was.
After the plaza scene was done filming, I was told to drive into the alley right behind the plaza, where I was completely surprised. Somehow, I was in Mexico. No, it definitely wasn’t Las Vegas anymore. They had transformed the simple alley into a busy street in Juarez, with pet stores, restaurants, and even a little meat marketplace. I was shocked at every little detail – there were even signs up for missing animals written all in Spanish. I was amazed at how they had made the new paint look old and faded.
Who were “they?” They were the people who made everything happen. Like magicians, they reconstructed and altered things. Just as they made all of the extras look dirty, they packed the alley with “movie dust” and filled our minds with the illusion that we really were in Mexico.
After all of the initial excitement came the waiting. And more waiting. Waiting for what? We were waiting for a different scene to be filmed, and not being able to leave, as we might be needed at any moment. I was lucky to be one of about 8 or 9 cars stuck in a “traffic jam” and not outside boiling in the hot sun. I got to perfect my driving skills by the end of the day, as they had me drive forward a few feet while they filmed, then reverse to do it all over again. The rest of the day was spent there in that alley, with a break for lunch and a lot of ice-cold bottled water in between. I was asked to come back the next day with a different vehicle, so I agreed, only to find out that I had to be there at 5:18 a.m.!
The next day was pretty much a repeat of the previous one. I spent my whole day once again in the alley, this time driving my grandma’s old Cadillac back and forth. I got to witness a dummy of a little boy being hit by a crazy biker, along with the Mexican Ambulance, but other than that it was another long day in the sun. I went home that night very tired, and very happy that I didn’t have to go back again the next day. I was satisfied, I’d experienced being in a real movie, even if I was just a measly extra.
Raven Romero , a Robertson High School graduate, is an intern with the Las Vegas Optic. She can be reached at