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You are here: Home > Recent > News > "The Majestic" production - Final Week of Shooting???
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"The Majestic" production - Final Week of Shooting???
22 Apr 2001    

Five weeks of production went by and JCO's Anonymous reporter returns with another vivid description of the cinematic happenings in Ferndale. It includes useful survival tips for any extra wannabe (pants tucked up skirts?!), who are the Marching Lumberjacks, and... a gliding Minnie Mouse! Oh, yes, and look for a "Majestic" appearance from the famous Cookie Lady, because it seems she did get some screen time. Alright!

«Here it was, midnight between Saturday and Easter Sunday and the Majestic crew was out on the dark streets of Ferndale doing their job, putting up parking barriers and stapling notices---what dedication!

Vehicles used in the week's shoot Town Hall, the Sheriff's Office entrance
Left: Vehicles used in the week's shoot (© Lora Jabot). Right: Town Hall, the Sheriff's Office entrance (© David LaRue).
After the holiday, the shoot was back on track with shots down Main Street from the Town Hall area---big black FBI cars, motorcycle escort in 1950's uniforms and extras in dark clothes in a carefully staged shot with extras moving to the middle of the street, toward the commotion. This went on again on Tuesday, and then moved to another sequence with Jim Carrey coming out of the Sheriff's office at Town Hall, complete with a large group of extras moving in another intricately choreographed sequence---I heard later this scene took eighteen takes to get, and it was reported that Mr. Carrey howled in frustration: neither he nor director Frank Darabont were happy, at least for that day.

A planned evening shoot on Tuesday did not materialize; on Wednesday a large crowd of new extras were called for the Memorial sequence at Town Hall...and never used. Being an extra is not an easy job: it can be many long hours of sitting in costume, waiting to be called to camera---it means full makeup and hair, and even period underclothes for the ladies (ask me how I know that...). All of the extras carry bags with them: with their period shoes (which are, rented period pieces), also reading material and other stuff to pass the time. Many of the extras wear puffy down jackets over the 50's clothes and tennis shoes and even pants tucked up their skirts. Look for Ellie Green the famous Ferndale Cookie Lady in a coral dress and a flowered hat.

Extras wait for their call
Extras wait for their call.
© Ferndale Fritz
Speaking of people in costume: when the extras are in town, you have never seen so many men in suits! Double breasted, single breasted conservative brown and blue suits with painted red and brown ties---and hats! Snap brim and straw and felt. They all wear hard dress shoes and even overcoats: if you don't live and work in the big city, this many suits in one place is an amazing sight. We just don't dress like that any more.

The Marching Lumberjacks are the band at Humboldt State University: they are notorious for their antics on every sportsfield and in every parade (I think they've even been tossed out of some parades!)---good musicians, they have a crazy streak and a wild reputation. The Lumberjacks were hired to be the band for the memorial sequence in The Majestic, and they showed up on Wednesday in these great 50's band uniforms: scarlet with fancy gold decoration, scarlet helmets and white shoes---very snazzy! I wondered how they were going to get them to march in straight lines, though.

On Wednesday The Lumberjacks were hanging out at the local theatre with all the other extras, waiting for a call to camera which apparently never came---they played music, and there was dancing and craziness on stage.

My God! It's full of neons!
My God! It's full of neons!
© Gary Franklin
On Thursday there was some shooting at the end of Main Street---that same shot they have been trying to get all week, I think: in the late afternoon they finally prepped for a night shoot at the Majestic---at night, they lined up many extras and principles for the first lighting up of the Majestic sign---hurray! they all shouted, over and over with each take.

...is that Minnie Mouse? Gliding silently down Main Street in the dark a figure with giant magenta Minnie Mouse ears on top of her head...it's a surreal sight! But it's Yvonne the 'background hair' lady who works with all the extras hairstyles, coming to check on her work, gliding silently around on her scooter wearing one of her several distinctive personal hairstyles.

On Friday some extras were called and dressed, but spent the day sitting around waiting: by Friday night, they set up for a second night shoot at The Majestic---the marquee reading first: 'An American In Paris', then later changed to 'The Day the Earth Stood Still'.

Main Street viewed from inside the Majestic Poster cases Candy counter Ceiling light
From left to right: Main Street viewed from inside the Majestic (© Anne & Jenn), and three aspects of the beautiful theater lobby (© Lora Jabot).

It's interesting what happens in high school---I heard that Frank Darabont and screen writer Michael Sloane and about ten others on this shoot all went to Hollywood High School together where they were theatre students: now they are in charge of an $80 million movie! Any room for a Marshall High grad ("go Barristers!")?

Is this shoot actually over? We don't know yet. They seem to have a couple of shots left to cover---so they might be here into the week, weather permitting. It's been an interesting and fun experience; so far I have seen Jim Carrey every single day he's been in the middle of town.»

-- With our biggest thanks to JCO's Anonymous reporter for another wonderful week in review. Many thanks go also to Anne & Jenn, David LaRue, Ferndale Fritz, Gary Franklin and Lora Jabot for all these marvelous photos. Click to comment this article.

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