Thousands of would-be movie extras try out for roles in Michael Mann's PUBLIC ENEMIES, starring Johnny Depp

Wisconsin residents turned out by the thousands at the open casting call for extras for the Michael Mann film PUBLIC ENEMIES last Saturday in Madison. One hopeful, Kristian Knutsen, went to the casting call at the Exhibition Hall at Monona Terrace: “The primary portion of the call was very brief, starting with a brief speech from [extra casting director Joan] Philo about the basics of the process, the physical requirements for extras in this film,” writes Knutsen. “[S]he emphasized the need for this film’s extras to really look as if they were from the early 1930s, specifically no close-cropped hair, no facial hair, and especially no tanning salons. This is doubly the case given the fact that Mann is helming the production, the director well-known for his fastidious approach to filmmaking.”

Joan Philo will have plenty of potential extras in the casting pool. “I wanted to be an extra in this movie as soon as I heard about it,” said Lori Bass-Edgar. “How often does something like this happen in Wisconsin?” Extras will be informed by phone if they have been selected, a few days before their scheduled shoot. The production schedule for PUBLIC ENEMIES runs from March 17th through June, so the phone may take a while to ring for the lucky ones who are chosen. But the hopefuls are prepared to be patient. “Getting any experience we can is pretty important,” Lorah Haskins told Knutsen. Haskins, a theater and communication arts major at UW-Madison, admitted to an additional motivation: “We heard that Johnny Depp is in it, and we would love to be an extra in one of his movies.”

The Zone thanks Emma for posting the Knutsen article, which has a very detailed account of the casting call; you can read the entire article on the Porch forum. –Part-Time Poet

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