To be honest it was really very magical being an extra in the Goblet of Fire and lots of the other extras’ costumes were amazing. Friends got to dress up with wizard’s hats and coats, cute long elfin like lacy dresses, stripy this’s and spotty that’s. My costume wasn’t quite so cute…. Before we got to do any filming we all had to go to the studio to be given our costumes and decide how our hair and make-up should look on the day. (This all takes ages and is a bit boring – unless you’ve got a friend with you to chat to, or a good book to read, or even better you are actually writing a book whilst hanging around which I was. 🙂 )
Anyway the clothes I was given were a sandpaper-rough brown skirt (much too big) and a snot-green coloured cardigan with ‘age 6’ on the label – so as you can imagine very tight. I was almost bursting out of it and the sleeves only came halfway down my arms but a few snips and tugs from the wardrobe lady and I was in it. ‘Hmm shoes…’ she mused. There’s one thing you very quickly learn being an extra and that’s comfy feet are very important if you’re going to be standing around all day. ‘I’ve got wellingtons,’ I said. ‘They’d look good with this outfit.’ The make-up lady drew a long thick layer of liquid eyeliner over my eyelids and added dots of pink to my cheeks. The hair lady looked at me with her chin in her hand. She lifted my hair up and let it drop, looked at me from one side and then the other. Then gave a nod. She’d got it. My hair is naturally blonde and doesn’t have highlights. The strands of naturally blonde hair are quite fine so it can mean it’s hard to keep in any style – other than floppy. But that wasn’t a problem for this hairdresser. She back-combed my hair until it was good and tangled and divided into 20 maybe even 30, felt like at least 50(!) tiny plaits the size of worms and made them so tight they stuck up all over my head like I’d had an electric shock. ‘Photo next. ‘We need to be sure exactly what you’re supposed to look like on the day.’ I stood against the wall as a polaroid shot of my hair and make-up was taken from all angles and then stuck to the wall so no one, and especially not me, could forget the look they’d created.
Once that was done the clothes were put in a plastic bag with my name written on it, all ready for the shooting day a week later… They bussed us into where we were going to be for the day and pointed us to the background artiste’s marquee where we went to get refreshments and go to the loo and then we all headed off in our costumes to a field full of tents as far as the eye could see. As I followed the line of other extras I couldn’t help smiling at how great they all looked and it didn’t matter what I looked like, I couldn’t see myself, I could just see everyone else and they looked amazing. Most of the time we had to stay outside our tents by our cauldrons – so big that three people could have stood in them comfortably. But for some of the time we were cheering the Irish for winning and another time we were part of a procession. I spent my day mostly with a friendly witch, a queen from Zamunda and a lot of children from drama school who hadn’t been picked as the leads and were feeling a bit sad but not complaining really. They spent their time with us because the kind men who were supposed to make the smoke in the cauldrons work – I think it was mostly incense – kept relighting our one for us so our cauldron felt a bit warmer than most. I’d done a few outdoor film shoots before this one and so had invested in a pair of warm thermals that went perfectly under my too large skirt and too small cardigan. I was as toasty as I could get and with comfy feet too. I was booked to work for another week or so and be one of the audience watching the tournament but the Arts Council decided to pay me to go round the world writing books instead and so off I went (but that’s a whole other story 🙂 ) PS If you too would like to be an extra the agency I was with is now one of the largest background agents. It’s called castingcollective.com.