Extra Extra Film Productions Pty Ltd




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The Extra


Extra Extra Film Productions Pty Ltd

Nine Films & Television

Macquarie Bank Ltd


National Release date: April 2005

Running Time: 96 minutes

Rating: M 15+


For further information please contact:

NIX Co

T 02 9380 4933

F 02 9380 4944

E nixco@bigpond.net.au

Principal cast


Jimeoin McKeown as The Extra

Rhys Muldoon as Curtis Thai-Buckworth

Katherine Slattery as Claudia

Bob Franklin as Marko

Helen Dallimore as Kylie Crackenrack

Kristy Hinze as Katherine Arena

Colin Lane as Danny

Raj Ryan as Simon Jones

Shaun Micallef as Ridley

Tayler Kane as Brett Tamsin


Principal Crew


Producer Stephen Luby

Producer Mark Ruse

Producer Bruno Charlesworth

Executive Producer Jennie Hughes

Executive Producer Posie Graeme-Evans

Director Kevin Carlin

Writer Jimeoin McKeown

Script Editor Tony McDonald

Director of Photography Mark Wareham

Production Designer Carrie Kennedy

Production Designer Ben Morieson

Costume Designer Kitty Stuckey

Make-up Supervisor Kirsten Veysey

Casting Kelly O'Shea

Editor Angie Higgins

VFX & Post Production Supervisor Tim Spicer

The Extra

Synopsis

"All my life I've been insignificant. It's not that I felt it. I have been." - Anonymous

The Extra. A romantic comedy about a normal Joe Blow who sees movie stars getting money and girls and says "Why not me?" He's a simplistic bloke with innocent eyes, as if he is looking at everything for the first time.

He wants to be a Movie Star. Fame to him is like a swing in a playground... he just wants a go on it.

He has come to the big city determined to change his own fortunes. He is willing to give anything a go to get there. Anything.

Short synopsis

A romantic comedy about a normal Joe Blow who sees movie stars getting money and girls and says "Why not me?"

Long synopsis

Jimeoin is The Extra an ordinary Joe who comes to the Big City to find fame and fortune. He wants to be a Movie Star, he wants to be on the A-list and get all the girls.

But all he can get is work as an extra on the set of the Blockbuster Movie Trilogy, The Eternal Flame. And although he dreams about romance with Katherine Arena (Kristy Hinze), the star of the blockbuster, the people he actually gets to meet are the other two-bit extras working on the studio lot, including Danny (Colin Lane) Simon (Raj Ryan), Claudia (Katherine Slattery), Kylie (Helen Dallimore) and Curtis Thai-Buckworth (Rhys Muldoon), a faded child star who is desperately trying to resurrect his career by directing a movie trailer he hopes will inspire financiers to bankroll his whole film.

Curtis borrows money from nightclub owner and loan-shark Marko (Bob Franklin). There are strings attached and when Marko begins to pull them, Curtis drags the impressionable Extra into his crazy and increasingly illegal schemes. They are soon pursued by Detective Ridley (Shaun Micallef), a cop with his own TV show, whose vanity far outweighs his talent either as cop or performer.

Despite his ongoing failure to secure even a small speaking part, the Extra's goals remain high, particularly after Claudia asks him to help her with an audition scene, and she amazes him with her performance. They strike up a natural friendship just as Katherine Arena becomes fixated on the Extra - whom she has seen on the studio lot- and begins to pursue him as the only man who has ever treated her as a person and not a star.

Curtis is unable to pay his actors and has to settle for casting the Extra as the lead in his movie trailer. This is as far as the Extra's career is ever likely to get until Curtis arranges to show the trailer to an international film financier. But not before Marko confiscates it in lieu of his unpaid loan.

The Extra and Curtis want their trailer back, but will have to bust Marko and his thugs to get it, before they themselves get busted by Ridley. Katherine Arena and Claudia each think they have won the heart of the Extra. It all comes to a head on the night of the glittering premiere of The Eternal Flame, when the Extra will finally have to decide the price of fame.

Background to the production

Ten o'clock at night on 30 June 2003, with Jimeoin McKeown in Byron Bay, Kevin Carlin (Director) in Albert Park and Stephen Luby (Producer) out in the sticks somewhere, an explosion of celebratory noise was heard when Macquarie Film Fund made their decision to fund The Extra.

The story of The Extra is about someone trying to gain significance through fame. "This seems to be a timeless and universal aspiration, about feeling invisible, and wanting something more," says Kevin. "It's about looking out there and saying the people who have significance, are the people who are famous, therefore maybe if I could be famous, I'll have significance.

"From Curtis, the child star who's been close to fame and loved it and lost it; Ridley who has a little bit of fame but needs more to validate his existence; Brett Tamsin who is emblematic of everything that's wrong with the big studio system and the way stars buy into it, to Katherine Arena who's been taken into the flame and doesn't know how to get back out. And then we have The Extra, who has never had any significance whatsoever and so believes that by gaining it, he will have respect."

From what Kevin believed was a strong script with lots and lots of great moments and '"strong emotional narrative," came the vision for the film. One of the things that dictates this film, says Kevin, is the heightened comedy. "To make the comedy sit comfortably, we (with DOP Mark Wareham) created a look that was a slightly heightened reality without being cartoon-esque, so that people felt comfortable in believing a lemon could get knocked over by a car, fall to the ground, and then be on a bus on the way home, have sex with a woman and return to normal the next day.

"One of the main things I wanted to do was fill the landscape with lots of different nationalities... and to try and make the city a character within itself," says Kevin. "Even though we shot it in Melbourne, I don't think it's specifically an Australian sort of city. The intention was to make it a universal city. It wasn't about cultural cringe, but it was about a universal story."

This was the universal story Jimeoin admits took five years to write. Or, as he puts it "a word a week". Jimeoin says of draft one. "I wrote the film and then got to the end of it and showed it to a friend who told me it was two stories in one, so I started again - and that was after two and a half, three years!"

But finally it came together and Jimeoin got to watch the magic as his film was being made. "We were the first to film in the Docklands soundstage and there were like 100 people doing the big battle scenes. That's always funny, for me anyway," says Jimeoin. "You turn up and you think, I was only joking when I wrote this. You've taken this for real."

Perhaps if he'd known Jimeoin was joking, it wouldn't have been such an intense time for the director. The duration of the shoot was 35 jam-packed days. "When I read the script, I got tired because of all the stunts that I could see, you just know how time-consuming they are and you just see your budget and your time draining away," says Kevin.

"It was a very ambitious script for the budget. And I suppose, it was asking a lot of all the different departments to bring to life what was on the page. For instance the work costume designer, Kitty Stuckey, had to do, to get the soldiers uniforms, and to get the peasants costumes and to supply us with thousands of extras right through the shoot. And what bought her grief was the fact a lot of the soldiers costumes had to come from Bollywood, India. And there was this time delay, so we're about to shoot, and the uniforms weren't in the country, and when they did arrive in the country, they had to go into quarantine!"

Putting the right people in the costumes was a long and involved process. For the role of Marko, Jimeoin had written it with Bob Franklin in mind. "Once Bob Franklin read for the role I couldn't see anyone else doing it," says Kevin.

Jimeoin envisaged his long-time friend Kristy Hinze to play Hollywood starlet Katherine Arena, but even she had to audition for the role.

"One standout moment came when casting Katherine Arena," says Kevin. "One of the most stunning people in the world. Kristy Hinze walked into the garage and it was quite surreal really. She picked up a magazine... I didn't know what it was, but she says 'here I am' and she opened it up. And she said 'what do you think?' and she's in these stunning bathing suits. I thought they were great."

Kevin says of the cast," It was a joy working with the cast, all of whom had the capacity to play comedy and play it well." He adds, "Sometimes something is funny or not on the page and the difference is, their capacity to give it the right timing and make the joke work. Fortunately, I was surrounded by people who had that in spades."

In addition to the visual, (although as Jimeoin points out, "People have to enjoy the pictures. Otherwise write a book and let them read it") music plays an important role in the film. Kevin believes the Colin Hays song 'Waiting for my life to Begin' is "so appropriate and just so melancholy and wistful. It just sits so comfortably with the emotional point we're at."

At times, it seemed like the forces were conspiring the make the shoot as pain-free as possible. Kevin explains, "We were blessed with Melbourne's weather. It was just extraordinary. We had some huge nights, particularly in the city, I think there were six nights where we had over a couple of hundred extras who had to stay the whole night. And for the first time in years, I had a t-shirt on for the whole night in Melbourne.

"On the second last night of the shoot, which was the end of our big extras night, it started to look threatening. It had been forecast rain and it was four o'clock in the morning. The extras wanted to go and the clouds were coming over. We'd just finished the last shot with them and I still had shots of the canister rolling down the steps to shoot, and it started to spit rain. And Kirsten Veysey who is a makeup supervisor said to me, 'if this buckets down on the way home, I know you've done a deal with the devil'. And of course, it just bucketed down for the next 15, 16 hours as soon as we got in the cars and started to go home."

A similar tale of luck or greater forces comes with production design. Kevin tells the story "One of the things that I asked (production design team) Carrie Kennedy and Ben Morieson to do was make it, slightly magical. For example Claudia's room, I said I wanted it to be on top of a fish and chip shop. It should have a door that leads out onto a corridor where it seems as though other people live, but it has to have a descending staircase that we can shoot from the doorway and I would like it opposite a railway crossing. And they looked at me and said 'can you be a little more specific?'

"Amazingly, Carrie found it, just around the corner from her place. It was as if I'd been there, and specified that as the location."

But the final word goes to Jimeoin, "I wanted to make a film with a universal story. A story about the everyman or plebes if you will. This is a story about plebes."


Principal cast

Jimeoin McKeown - the Extra

It was while filming The Craic in 1999, that Jimeoin had the germ of an idea for his latest film The Extra. This romantic comedy is in part based on personal experience, coupled with his acute observations (friends aspiring to become actors dancing in gay nightclubs, in London, for an equity card) and the recognition of the desire within us all to be famous.

"Anytime I've read articles written about fame it's always cynical, written from outside; I really wanted to write from within. I genuinely wanted to expose myself and say yes, I wanted to be famous and I do want to be famous for all these reasons. People treat you really, really well, allow you into parties and buy you drinks and listen to what you have to say and are very respectful. If you're not famous, people wipe you, treat you the opposite to that," says Jimeoin.

His experience as an extra in London and in a few Australian films helped provide the background for what he considered a very funny basis for a film. Both the writer and star of his own film, Jimeoin handed the directorial reins to his trusted friend, Kevin Carlin, to deliver his universal story.

"I didn't want this to look like an Australian film, with the usual suspects in the cast. The way this is shot, the lighting, coupled with the cast of Cockney, American, Irish accents create a different world. Although shot in Melbourne it has a European look and feel," says Jimeoin.

With his second film about to launch one might be forgiven for thinking his days of stand-up are over. Wrong! "I design my year around doing stand-up as much as I can. And then I'll spend my time in between trying to write another film. It is a good way of getting momentum because if you don't you sort of fade away."

That's good news given Jimeoin is acclaimed as one of the hottest stand-up comics on Australia's live and television circuits. A prolific writer, he is known and loved for his brilliantly funny wit and charming observations on the absurdities of every-day life.

Jimeoin's frequent national tours across Australia, playing to large theatre audiences has proven immensely successful. In addition to his successful Australian tours, Jimeoin has toured New Zealand, Europe and the U.K. Highlights have included: seasons at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival where he won the highly acclaimed 'Critics Award' and the Montreal Festival in Canada.

Jimeoin has appeared on numerous Australian Television shows including Tonight Live, Full Frontal, Bligh, The Midday Show and Good Morning Australia to name a few. Most significantly he wrote and performed in his own, simply self-titled show, Jimeoin for the 7 Network in 1994 and 1995. The programme extended to a third series due to the immense popularity of Jimeoin and the programme.

As well as countless appearances in Australia, Jimeoin has also performed on many top rating overseas programmes including The Des O'Connor Show (UK) and Late Night With Conan O'Brien (USA), which were viewed by over 13 million people. In 1999 Jimeoin wrote and starred in his own feature film titled The Craic, released by Village Roadshow. In its opening weekend The Craic became the second highest grossing box office movie in Australia's history and has now been released on video, including his own native Ireland. Jimeoin has also produced three top selling CDs - 'Goin Off', 'The Craic' and 'Forklift Truck'.

Rhys Muldoon - Curtis Thai-Buckworth

Rhys made his feature debut playing a dishy TV journalist opposite Miranda Otto and Justine Clarke in the romantic comedy Danny Deckchair and went on to star in the tongue-in-cheek The Crop.

He is well known to ABC TV audiences as a presenter on the perennial daily pre-schoolers' program Playschool and as Arcadia Waters Council's inept general manager Greg Dominelli in the critically acclaimed satire Grass Roots, a role which earned him a nomination at the Australian Film Institute Awards in 2000.

Rhys also had an ongoing role as the laidback pilot Jimbo James in the Southern Star series Big Sky. More recently he starred as university lecturer (and love interest) Frank in The Secret Life of Us. Rhys has also played guest roles in Young Lions, Blue Heelers, Farscape, Water Rats and Stingers, to name just a few.

Rhys' most recent theatre credit is Design for Living for the Melbourne Theatre

Company. For his role in the Sydney/Melbourne/Adelaide tour of Steven Berkoff's Decadence Rhys received the Best Actor Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and was nominated for a Green Room Award.

Katherine Slattery - Claudia

It took a long audition process for Katherine to nab the role of Claudia. "I did one audition and then I didn't hear for a very long time, then had another audition, then had to wait thinking that it probably wasn't going to happen, and then got to audition again. So by the time I actually found out I got the part, I really wanted it."

Director Kevin Carlin says of casting for the role, "We pitched Australia wide and Katherine came in and tested on the Romeo and Juliet scene - she was beautiful. It is one of the stand out scenes in the film."

Given the chance to work on The Extra ("a naïve, sweet story"), which Katherine sees as "the underdog making their own path, having several epiphanies along the way," appealed. She describes her character, Claudia, as "unsophisticated, deeply private, has great ambitions but doesn't really know how to put them in place." Katherine sees the similarities of her role and real life. "I think the unfortunate thing about acting is that it's a bit of a Catch-22 situation where getting work sometimes means that you get more work, and there is that thing of someone giving you a slight amount of confidence that makes you have more confidence."

A graduate from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2000, Katherine Slattery has appeared in many acclaimed theatre and television productions including The Secret Life of Us, Young Lions, The Road From Coorain and Changi.

Falling in love with her costumes "I think a few might disappear at the end of the shoot" wasn't the only thing that Katherine enjoyed about making The Extra. "It's just the best film set I've ever worked on, such a lovely warm energy. I don't even think that is just because it's a comedy, I think everyone's interested in making a really good film and there's no sense of camera crew and cast, there's a real ensemble feeling and it's definitely a highlight."

Bob Franklin - Marko

Trying to pin Bob Franklin down to answer questions, seriously, about The Extra, is pointless. What you're left with is seriously funny dialogue that confirms this man is one of the funniest comedians in this country.

Most know his background: British-born, and one of the most distinctive and respected writer-performers in Australian comedy. A 10-year veteran of the stand-up circuit, Bob is best known for his work with Jimeoin, co-starring in his three TV series, numerous stage shows and The Craic, the highest-grossing Australian film of 1999. A regular on some of Australian TV's best comedies including The Micallef Program, Small Tales & True and Eric (with Eric Bana), Bob co-created and starred in The Comedy Channel's Introducing Gary Petty, which won the 2000 Australian Writer's Guild Award for Best Situation Comedy. He is also fondly remembered as the host of "How Delightful" on The Mick Molloy Show.

But to the film: His long friend, Jimeoin, says that casting Bob as the villain was casting against type but adds, " I happen to know he can play a villain very well. He will now be asked to do villains until he is blue in the face."

As for Bob, he says his involvement in the film came about as a result of being very tired having spent two or three days at the bottom of an abandoned mineshaft. "Being trapped down there. I really didn't know what I was signing, and couldn't really get out of it once the name had gone down."

His initial reaction to the script was "surprise, because I'd been led to believe we were shooting a five minute short, so it was far longer than I thought it would be. Again, it was too late to back out at that point."

Hoping for insight into his character, the villainous Marko, Bob offers these pearls, "To me, Marko is someone who had his heart set on getting into some sort of exotic nut farming, macadamias most probably and for one reason or another, it just never worked out. I think, he's probably very bitter about the fact that the nut thing never really came together, and there's a lot of anger there. To me, he becomes increasingly bitter and isolated and he can't stop thinking about the nuts and what he would have done, particular techniques he would have employed on the farm and it just tears him up inside."

Describing the film is easy. "To me it's like a length of carpet that is rolled up at the start of the film and by the end of it, it's completely flat."

His time spent with director Kevin Carlin left Bob largely unimpressed. "I don't tend to have anything to do with a director on a film. It's just the way I like it, so I don't recall seeing him to be honest, during the shoot." Bob can, however, offer some surprising glimpses into what his co-star Jimeoin is like to work with. "People don't know it. He sheds a lot of skin during a shoot. Often, the whole of the skin will often just slough off in a sort of reptilian manner and if you don't know him it can be a little disconcerting."

Finally, Bob offers his opinion as to what type of audience The Extra would most likely attract. "I would imagine the film would appeal to people who have never seen any other films who consequently don't have anything to compare it with."

Helen Dallimore - Kylie Crackenrack

Helen Dallimore plays Kylie Crackenrack in the film that she describes as '"kind of like New Weekly or Who Magazine in a movie."

The director, Kevin Carlin, says of the role, "there is nothing redeeming about the character, and Helen did that well" and Helen's herself says of Kylie, "I thought it fit in with my existing repertoire of sluts, bimbos and bitches".

A 1995 NIDA graduate, Helen has worked extensively in theatre, television and film, with roles in many of Australia's most acclaimed productions, including All Saints, Day of the Roses, Water Rats and Secret Bridesmaids Business. Helen has worked recently with The Sydney Theatre Company as well as being the Artistic Director for Hair of the Dog Productions (for which she has also directed).

So, when Helen says that she was extremely well prepared for the audition, with "a song and an interpretative dance and a monologue that I had written myself" you know that she has the professional background to back it up!

Helen describes her character Kylie as someone who "walks that very fine line between Marilyn Monroe and Anna Nicole Smith. I guess she's kitten at one extreme and Rottweiler at the other." Perhaps voicing the Panda character in two series of The Magic Mountain helped Helen get into the animal psyche for the role. Despite feeling that her character should have more lines ("They keep on having close ups of this Jimeoin guy"), Helen says that once she "learnt her lines and put on a wonderbra, had a mani and a pedi and flew from Sydney" playing the role of Kylie came easily to her.

As for what we might see of Kylie in the future, Helen looks into her magic ball and says, "I think it's safe to say that Kylie will be hosting Tattslotto by the time she's 35. Potentially with brand new body parts bought for her as gifts."

Kristy Hinze - Katherine Arena

Having a role written with you in mind may be flattering, but the famous supermodel still had to audition for the part of Katherine Arena, in Jimeoin's feature film The Extra.

"Playing a big Hollywood-style movie star", says Kristy," is pretty much every little girl's dream. I don't think it was hard to go into the role, especially being a model. I know what it is like to be in the spotlight but I did have to study quite a bit to have that air of confidence a movie star has about themselves".

As for working with long time friend Jimeoin, Kristy recalls, "It was hysterical, he's hysterical. He is such a wonderful man, always trying to do stuff for other people. When we were working with 250 extras and waiting around forever, he'd get up and do stand-up for them".

Although Kristy has appeared in a few films, overseas, it is for her modelling she is best known. Discovered at 14 by Vivien Smith of Vivien's Model Management, Kristy was the youngest and first Australian model to land a one-year exclusive contract with Vogue Australia. Since then she has never looked back.

Kristy's success continued into 2002 with a sizzling show season in New York including appearances in eleven shows for designers Halston, Bob Mackie and Marc Bouwer. She was photographed by Patrick Domarchelier and by New York's hottest photographer Terry Richardson in a worldwide campaign for Sisley.

She also featured in the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer campaign. She was flown back to Australia to star as The Face of Melbourne Fashion Festival 2002, involving many public and media appearances, and shot her own segment of The Great Outdoors. Kristy also filmed a cameo role in the Carmichael film production of The Look playing the part of Elaine, a Vogue fashion editor.

In 2003 Kristy landed a six-figure contract to be the face and brand ambassador for Australian icon Berlei bras and underwear. Kristy's commitment to Berlei will see her involved in all aspects of the brand marketing, promotion and publicity for at least two years.

Ever the businesswoman, Kristy opened up her own café and juice bar at Coolum on the Sunshine Coast called Julius Squeezer and is in the process of expanding the chain down the east coast of Australia.

Kristy also shot a national Australian campaign for Country Road, appeared in the Paris shows, shot worldwide campaigns for Diesel and Givenchy body cream as well as a television commercial for Eau Jeune perfume, which is shown throughout Europe.

Kristy has also taken on the role of Ambassador for Queensland Abused Child Trust by becoming a celebrity face for the charity involved in fund rasing events and advertising.

Colin Lane - Danny

Colin Lane is perhaps best known for his work in the comedy duo Lano & Woodley. In The Extra, he works alone.

Rhys Muldoon sees it this way. That Colin is, "so at sea without his partner. It's pretty clear who's carrying that duo. " Bob Franklin goes even further, "Colin made things very hard for himself. He'd auctioned off all his vowels for charity just prior to the film, so he couldn't use any during the shoot so they will have to be added in post".

Winning the Perrier Pick of the Fringe Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 1994, brought Lano & Woodley's unique brand of frenetic physical humour international recognition, and continue to delight audiences at festivals throughout Australia. They have tackled television with three series of The Adventures of Lano & Woodley and they remain regular guests on radio and television.

Colin describes his character in The Extra, Danny, as "attractive. Very, very attractive. Hauntingly so, like, people actually walk past him and go "Ahhh' because he's so attractive".

Director Kevin Carlin believes that Colin has "got the capacity to find comedy where there doesn't seem to be any."

To get in character, Colin used his experiences at Doncaster High and being voted 'best poof' to hone the rogue restauranteur Danny, and to "mince it up"

Colin Lane has had experience as an extra himself, on one of the four times he worked on Neighbours. (As a cop, a businessman, a shop owner and a park ranger when Bouncer ran away).

Without wanting to sound too much like David Stratton, Colin positions The Extra as something, "I don't feel like it's an over the top, Dumb and Dumber kind of cak-fest."

Raj Ryan - Simon Jones

Raj describes his character, Simon Jones as '"a taxi driver who loves films. He's found this great opportunity to be an extra and he's just revelling in it. He probably does want to be a more serious actor but he's actually quite happy revelling in just being involved in movie world. That's his buzz."

As for the name, Simon Jones, Raj, Kevin Carlin and Jimeoin decided that Simon comes from Simon Templer of The Saint and Jones from Tom Jones, because he thinks of himself as a bit of a '"rock star".

Graduating from NIDA in 1989, Raj has worked extensively in theatre as well as television, including roles in McLeod's Daughters, Farscape 3, Dogwoman, Seachange and All Saints. None of which prepared him for the days filming when Raj, Jimeoin and Colin Lane dressed as a lemon, a banana and a tomato, spent the day at the Victoria markets. "I was in a tomato suit all day - lycra tights, the tomato coming to above my hips, it was so ridiculous. And it was pretty embarrassing for the first hour and then you sort of forget that you're in this suit and you actually walk around quite seriously. And Rhys Muldoon came to look at us and said "boys, boys, remember, above all, dignity. Always dignity".

Accents have always come easily for Raj (his mother is Irish and his father Indian) and in the films vision for an "every-world, non-specific country" of The Extra, a westernised Indian accent for the character was appropriate. But when Kevin Carlin rang to tell Raj that he had the part "I got onto his local garage attendant because Raj had left his mobile phone there. So I thought, for a moment, the accent had changed dramatically."

In what Raj describes as "a good yarn", The Extra gave him his first opportunity to work with Jimeoin, 'so when I got the script I thought, jeez, this would be a great thing to do. Cause I have honestly been a fan of Jimeoin for a long time as a comedian. Jimeoin fans are going to love it because he's on screen a lot and he's doing stuff that I don't think he really does in his live act. His characters' a lot more vulnerable, a lot more sensitive, and I think this is a good chance for his fans to see another side of Jim."

As for the extras themselves? Raj thinks, "it's not about being a nobody but it is about being an accessory rather than a fashion item."

Shaun Micallef - Ridley

It's role reversal, in a sense, for Shaun Micallef and Jimeoin. Having known each other for more than 10 years it has often been Jimeoin performing Shaun's material, that is, until The Extra.

"It so nice to be working with Jimeoin and performing some of his writing," says Shaun. "Originally he was performing my dross that I was coming up with for Channel Seven so this is his chance to get back at me."

The Extra is about people being noticed and every character in the film has their own unique style of doing just that. Detective Paul Ridley is a man who doesn't want to be a detective; he wants to be in films. "He will pretty much do anything, even abusing his powers as a police officer in order to get in and know the right people," says Shaun

"He's a guy who has a small hosting gig on a television show called Crime Catchers. He has tasted fame, or some lesser mutation of that, and now wants to really go for the whole banana."

The role of Ridley was a chance for Shaun to do something different than the characters he'd done before. "That's the good thing about doing films, or things, written by other people, it's nice to get tested every now and then."

And tested he was. In a scene that is pure magic, Ridley must audition for a part in the film. He is asked to sing, unaccompanied, in an empty room. "It was really one of the most humiliating things," says Shaun. "I don't like auditions anyway, let alone pretending on film in front of everyone, singing and doing impressions. It is really horrible. And I hope I brought that to the role."

Speaking of that audition scene Director, Kevin Carlin, "In the film, Shaun asked if he could ad-lib the scene and I agreed. He bought out about eight characters and when he finished there was an eruption of applause from the crew. It was one of those magic set pieces you were privileged to witness."

Shaun's early comic work was with Artist Services as a writer and actor for Full Frontal, where he created a range of memorable characters including Milo Kerrigan, David McGhan, Fabio, Jim Waley and Roger Explosion.

He went on to write and host in his own television shows Micallef Tonight and three series of The Micallef Program and also wrote and performed in Welcher and Welcher. His other television appearances include Seachange and Blue Heelers. He has also appeared in the feature films, Bad Eggs and The Honourable Wally Norman. In 2001 he hosted the Logies and has also won a Logie for Best Comedy Program for The Micallef Show. More recently, he co-created with writer Gary McCaffrie the successful telemovie Blackjack, starring Colin Friels.

Tayler Kane - Brett Tamsin

Missing out on the original casting session because he was filming Strange Bedfellows it took Tayler Kane only a single casting to land the role of Brett Tamsin.

From then it was an hour a day for couple of months to work on the accent, and time for a very strict diet with a lot of weight training to achieve the solid muscly look he needed to play the very physical character of Brett, (Tayler put on about 6 kilos for the role).

Helen Dallimore admires her co-star for "a very brave performance. There's not a lot of men who can work in a skirt and a chest thong the way that he did."

Tayler himself pulls no punches when describing his character. "He's an arsehole. This boy is corrupt, he's bought into the fame and it's destroyed him. He embodies the worst parts of fame."

As for the famous writer of The Extra? Tayler "thinks it's interesting working on a project that is basically one's persons' vision, because when that happens there's a purity to it. So there's often very strong through lines to the story and the characters."

Having studied at the Strasberg School Actors Studio in London, Tayler has worked regularly in theatre, film and television, both in the UK and Australia. His work includes Queen of the Damned, The Dish, You and Your Stupid Mate, The Secret Life of Us and Fire.

Tayler did all his own stunts during The Extra, including multiple sword fights. "They're not play swords, they are full on metal and they weigh about 5 kilos... when you swing it about 800 times a day and then you've got a shield that weights ten kilos. It's tiring, and then you're running while you do it."

If Tayler does have a little complaint working on the film, it's his time spent with Kristy Hinze, "You know, I just wish she could have been better looking, because I have to put up with that all the time. It's shocking, but you've got to do those things when you're an actor."

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