Tom was actually asked first, after meeting the casting director by chance, actually his CAR was, so that will be an 'extra' too, in a scene that was shot on a hot summer night near downtown St. Paul. After his scene wrapped up Tom had his surreal moment of the summer: chatting with Woody in a very Cheers-like bar. Not a good picture of either guy (ha!) but Tom said Woody was pretty much what you'd expect-- authentic and easy-going, and happy to be in pictures with people.....
When we heard they needed kids for a scene they were shooting at Como Town (turning it into 'Fairy Land' for the movie), we had to send in photos of the girls -- their first 'head shots' -- so we had fun playing around and taking some pictures for that, and a few extra photos too ....
We also invited the girls' friend Kaelin, so she and her mom Jen took part in the fun too -- The day of the shooting we met near the state fair grounds at 6AM (!!) and were bused over to Como Town.
There was a tent area set up for extras and filming started by 7am. It was fun and interesting, but a very hot and LOOOOONG day (we got home after 8pm that night) -- the girls were in a few scenes each, and Jen and I were too, which we weren't planning on but it made for an extra unique day :) We learned the 'ins' of the extras (lots of pretending to talk while in the background, but not making any noises, and going over the same scene over and over and over again to get it just right). Laura Dern had her kids on the set too, and though we didn't talk with her I did see her in the bathroom at one point and in different places throughout the day -- she's tall and thin and friendly too, and totally rocked the 80's outfit she was wearing! We didn't talk with Woody either but spent most of the day pretty close to him, got a few nods and smiles from him, he talked with the girls a little and told them they were doing a good job (exciting!!), and was eating something green (?!) when he walked by us at one point. We weren't allowed to take any photos and were asked to wait to discuss details about it on any social media. We basically followed those requests but I did take one photo as we were leaving:
The movie, called "Wilson" is set to come out March of 2017 (a year and a half after filming it!), and another fun part of this experience, the girls received their first real paycheck!! They were paid around $11 an hour and took home a check for a little over $100 after taxes. FUN!!!!
A few weeks later the same casting agency called again and asked if Ella and Zoe were available to be in a locally shot TV show called 'In an Instant', which is an ABC documentary series that features real-life stories about human survival -- how a person's life can change in an instant, when a tragedy occurs.
The episode the girls were in was 'Tragedy in Tornado Alley', and was about the catastrophic tornado that hit the town of Moore, Oklahoma a few years ago and the scene they were in was the aftermath of the tornado and the rescuing of students and teachers that were in the school that was hit by the tornado.
This was another really early morning start time. The set was in a field near Independence, Minnesota and when we arrived the girls first spent time with one of the costume designers, who picked out the clothes they would wear for the day. After that they went to the hair and make-up trailer where they had their hair ratted out, made as messy as possible and were sprayed and painted with a mixture of dirt, leaves, grass, watery paint and hairspray. That was another really cool experience, but also a bit somber too, knowing they were being made up to look like they'd been in an actual tornado, and would be portraying real kids who survived a real tornado.
Once the girls were physically ready we were brought to the field where the scene was set up. It was amazing how much the area looked like a tornado had gone through it, and the day itself was a mixture of excitement and awe. In between scenes we spent time with the other extras, who were real-life police officers, firefighters and EMTs from St. Paul and two other neighboring suburbs. They all volunteered their time to support their fellow rescue workers from Moore Oklahoma, and were so inspirational. We had many good conversations throughout the day and I left feeling extra thankful for all of the real people who put themselves in dangerous situations daily, to make sure we are safe and help when we are in need. Regular people doing their everyday jobs, that are not quite regular jobs ~
Sitting on the sidelines and watching the rescue scenes take place was very dramatic and emotional. There was one scene where a mom and dad arrived at the school and were trying find their kids -- it got to me each time they had to play it out, the reality of what these families went through was so raw and heart-wrenching to watch.
I was really proud of both Zoe and Ella. They were respectful and took it all seriously, they followed directions and were patient in between scene retakes, and they also did a super job portraying their characters. It was really neat to be part of a national TV show and an honor to be in a show that highlights survival and the human spirit.
Before we left our house ~
And back home, dirty faces and all ~
The second season of 'In an Instant' ran this summer, and we were able to watch it with the girls. It is a very dramatic episode and very well done. If you're interested you can go to their website and pull up the episode the girls were in, or any of the other ones. If you happen to watch the tornado episode, Ella is around the 53mn mark, in a reddish-shirt, walking with a man in blue, then seen again from a distance, walking with the same man. Zoe is at the 1hour 5mn mark wearing a blue shirt, and is carried out of the rubble by a blonde female police officer.