Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Love Ranch, Joe Pesci, Helen Mirren

Love Ranch ... on set

  • Now you can click on the Juke Box, set it for 1976, pick a tune to start, sit back and reflect back to those days in Reno Nevada, The Mustang Ranch, Oscar Bonavena, Joe and Sally Conforte at ringside during a well promoted heavyweight fight attended by thousands. This is the scene depicted on the set we are working, for these posted weeks starting 2-21-08 through 3-5-08. Enjoy 'The fight'. 'Ringo'

  • Call Time: Wednesday, February 27
    For Paid Extras
    1:15 pm Ranch Girls
    1:15 pm Angel and April
    1:15 pm Fight Fans, FIRST names begin with A-L
    1:15 pmArena Security
    1:15 pm Reno Police
    1:15 pm Sporstwriters/Still Photographers/TV Reporters/TV Cameramen
    1:15 pm Fight Officials/Judges
    1:15 pm Black Panther Body Guards
    2:15 pm Fight Fans whoes FIRST names begin with M-Z
    2:15 pm Ring Doctor/Time Keeper/Referee/Colter's
    2:15 pm Colter's Cut Man/ Cortez's Buddy/Bruza's Cut Man/Ring Announcer
    Please report to bascamp

    Jumped up early at 7:30am after arriving home at 3:30 am. Hey, that is 4 hrs of sleep. Checked e-mails, and wrote the happenings on set of Tuesday the night before, posted it, jumped in the car, drove to fairgrounds base camp, arriving early enough to sign in and check out my wardrobe, using my number 502. A quick change to shirt and blue leather jacket of their choice, which people have told me, looks entirely reasonable in comparison to others dress. Time to grab a great burger and a cup of fruit. Sat down with one of my friends, Ed (dressed like Liverpool of the 60's) and chatted old times with another retired USAF veteran while waiting for our 'call' to action.

    4:30pm Keith from So Cal, herded us back to the Arena where the fight scene, ring is set up. Our Producer,

    Taylor Hackford

  • who is in real life, Helen Miren's husband, and who's favorite saying is "One More Time", insures that the sound of our yells and hollers come from all sides of the arena, by setting up a sound capture system and by moving us around the grandstand while we yell and holler at our top volume, surround sound? We have been placed in all three ringside positions several times over the last days and hours, to give the impression of thousands of fans sitting among the cardboard cutouts and blow up dolls (the waist up kind). Leroy Colter and Armando Bruza (portrays Oscar Bonavena) start rehersal. Warm up dancing and throwing punches, Bruza pounds out 35 quick pushups every now and then to stay 'pumped'. We practice our yelling, catcalls, boo's and clapping. Now we are ready for a repeat of the five rounds from yet another camera perspective than the previous nights.

    Helen Mirren (portraying Sally Conforte) is involved again tonight. Joe Pesci is out with the flu, to return next Wednesday. Many camera angle changes from the big shoulder held unit, supported by the cable man close behind. (he holds the camera on his shoulder between live 'rolling' shoots to take a load off the main camera man) Super Techno Crane's camera is 'flying' above the ring again tonight.

    We start with Bruza unblemished, his white shorts clean. Each series of shoots he gets bloodier. We stand up, cheer, yell, clap, and boo, sit down and repeat every few minutes as the time passes. The ring girls, dressed in sparkling bikinis, are always doing their best to get us hyped. We repeat this scene from many different camera angles to get exactly the right on screen effect. The producer and director, to say nothing about big, intense, Jimmie the fight co-ordinator from Raging Bull and Rocky II, want it right. Several times during the shoots, a punch really lands. the result is a stunned fighter requiring a few minutes recuperation. Luckily this happens rarely.

    They are only satisfied when the look is believable. We then move on through the following rounds. This process takes hours. Bruza, being mercilessly pummeled by Leroy Colter, gets bloodier and bloodier. Helen Mirren runs to ringside repeatedly during each dynamic close-up, to call for an end to "This madness" or using many other terms as we re-do each scene. The obvious affection 'Sally Conforte' has for 'Oscar Bonavena', is apparent.

    3 hours later at 7:30pm a short, break in the outer hall with salsa and chips, apples and oranges then return to the arena once again. This time the cameras have been reset to yet another position. A woman came over and pointed back in the far row. A friend that I see about once a year, was waving. I worked the various state of NM bank vaults while he was an armed courier. Always happy and smiling, Ron went on to be 'security' at Sandia Labs until retirement. He has never stopped pumping iron for all these years. Now he is going to star in background like the rest of us. Amazing how people show up in our lives from time to time, only to dissapear until the next time. Great seeing you again Ron and Sandra. Come back to the next 'shoot' on Wednesday, we'll talk again.

    Minutes later, filing back into the arena, this time in seats on the other side of the ring. Back rows move to front which puts me in back so that the camera does not show me in front on both sides of the ring at the same time. Interesting tricks to maintain a semblance of reality. Now it is getting interesting. A large overhead framework is holding a big black box containing an internal camera. The suspension system is bungees. The camera is inside the box, behind a plexiglass shield. One, or at times two men hold the box from behind.

    while Leroy Colter pounds the snot out of the wildly recoiling camera box, yelling profanities at it. Of course that is the way H wood thinks all people talk. I find it a little sad. Hope they clean it up a bit, so that more people will not be turned off by that endless stream of venom and tell friends to just forget it. Of course todays movies are made for this new 'liberalised' generation, the others, myself included, just might stay home.

    The Supreme court is meeting right now to allow Profanity on all of the airways. Sad for our world when decency is forbidden and legislated against as a 'Hate Crime'. Oh well..CHANGE is the new 'Buzzword', hang on tight and Pray, Brace yourself because we are going to get it...

    Upon Taylor's command, we either pantomine or loudly cheer. This gives the impression of looking right at each punch, as would Bruza see the devastating blows coming directly into his face. This fight film uses many technologic innovations not present when the 'Rocky' films were made. A bit of trivia, 'Rocky' starring Sylvestor Stallone, came out in 1976, the same year this story actually happened. We work this scene repeatedly until 9:30pm. So Cal Keith calls for us to go back to holding for a meal. Tillapia with plentiful tarter sauce (the only way I like tillapia) sauteed potatoes, veggies and all of the other goodies, is a nice respite and time to renew old aquaintances.

    After supper, the return to same seats, Different camera angles have been set up. The 'Senator', sitting in front of us, is being portrayed by the same actor that was the Dad in 'Malcolm in the Middle' on TV a few years back. The Sheriff who protected Charles Bontempo from legal problems, is standing with the Reno police officer in the aisle to our left. We repeat our 'sit down stand up' routine dozens of times. sometimes quietly sometimes loudly, whatever we are ordered to do for the scene. Being so far back in the camera field, and being below the crowd line, I sometimes just sat, waved my arm in the air and yelled for effect, resting a bit. At times I dozed off while waiting for camera resets. Fatigue was starting to set in.

    The very pretty Nicoletta was sitting in front of me this time. We have been near each other often on each nights shoots. I noticed she twists her hair while waiting for the next scene to keep us busy, Nicoletta is attending the University of New Mexico and working on her degree in criminology, 2 to 3 hrs of each week are spent in the lab. She also boxed for three years with Holly Holms, our local star. After she is 21, a time will be spent in the police academy, preparing her for her time in our CSI division. Her uncle is a hostage negotiator. Her Mom has been a teacher for 30 years. Nicoletta has her life planned out. This background work just gives her something else to do while earning a few dollars. See you again somewhere 'on set' Nicoletta, It's been my utmost pleasure to meet you.

    We worked this side of the ring for hours on end. At 2am Jimmie, the boxing co-ordinator (raging bull, Rocky II) and 'Leroy' had short fuses. A few words were shared between each and the ring people had to settle them down. About 15 minutes later all was well, and the punches were again being thrown between the actors, mostly Bruza on the receiving end of the gloves. Repeat each round again from even more camera angles, pizza in hallway kept attracting a few of us at a time, away from our seats, only to be called back for more action.

    This series of camera angle changes, continued into the wee hours. Finally some 'outside of the building' shots with the old cars being the stars, and we were released to wardrobe and 'sign out'. I arrived back home and crawled into bed at 5:13am. Now that ended my 22 hour working day. Now you know why this post was later than usual. Jet Lag is apparently not limited to air travel.

    I signed up for more of the same next week on Wednesday. Tom from Appaloosa (the town sign painter) counted about 25 of our co-horts from Appaloosa, working this set as well as a lot of professional actors. Luce Rains from Appaloosa and MC Gainey from Wild Hogs and Dukes of Hazard. That is about one third of us from that film where we were featured background. See, I told you we were stars, professionals at the very least. If you are interested in a real star Bai Ling

  • just check in on her.

    Fabulous Fight Fans Come Back

    Elizabeth talked with our director yesterday and he told her that the "Fight Fans are absolutely fabulous". Taylor Hackford, director of "La Bamba" "Ray" and "An Officer and a Gentleman" loves Albuquerque Extras. Boxing Fans YOU ROCK!!!!

    We are shooting the boxing scene AGAIN on Wednesday, March 5 so if you worked any day on the scene, please come back. Give Katy a call in the office to confirm if you have not done so already. It will be a split again, which means that we will start late morning to early afternoon and shoot to the wee hours of the morning.

    Please return to DaFlikkers next week after The post of 3-5-08 Wednesday's 'on set' activities at Love Ranch, Reno Nevada, 1976. "One Nation Under God" was in effect back then as well.
    IMDB list of actors and comments

  • The real story is pretty sick


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