"My work as an actor on location/set
is to have the Producer/Writer/Director's vision
up on the screen…!"

- - Badger

Badger as the
Alpine Ropetoss Man
in

'The Man Who Wasn't There'

Monday August 07, 2000

Paramount Pictures

Via Background Players I was booked on the Untitled Barber Movie being directed by Joel Coen and written by he and brother Ethan Coen of Fargo and The Big Lebowski, as well as O Brother, Where Art Thou?, on which I did a night shoot in which I could be visible between two torch bearers at the very front of the mob following Babyface Nelson). O Brother, Where Art Thou? was intially scheduled for a fall 2000 release.

For the Untitled Barber Movie I was to play a Passerby (passing Billy Bob Thornton) during a rain sequence. This is another period movie so I have a costume fitting and yet another hair-cut (as my current hair length isn't short enough from Dude, Where's My Car?

Tuesday August 08, 2000

I got a call from Charlie at Direct Line, my then calling service. My outgoing pager message indicated the scheduled costume fitting, but he had a booking for me the next day. Thankfully, Background Players was able to shift the wardrobe fitting to Friday the 11th so I was able to spent Wednesday the 9th working on the Adam Sandler film Little Nicky.

Friday August 11, 2000

I arrived for my 11:30pm wardrobe fitting appointment at 10:30am. I was fitted with a snazzy (if snug) teal suit with bow tie and brown hat and trench coat. Although I have to call Tuesday the 22nd "at the last minute" (between 5pm and 7pm) for the calltime and location, at least we were made aware the location would be Paramount Studios on Melrose. I am well aware as to where that is.

Wednesday August 23, 2000

I got my 7:00am calltime the night before, meaning I had to rise around 4:30am to be ready and catch a 5:30am'ish bus to get me down to Hollywood Boulevard and Vine by 6:40am. From there it's a relatively easy march down to Paramount Studios at 5555 Melrose at Gower.
I had no problem with the early calltime; either I'll be used early and wrapped, or I'll hang around for hours and hours and hours and maybe get some overtime. As it is I will be getting a pay bump for working in rain.

Alpine Ropetoss Man…

With the bus actually getting me to Hollywood and Vine by 6:10am and my catching the Vine Street bus down to Melrose, I arrived at the Paramount Studios backlot at 6:30am for my 7am call.

At the film's beginning, Billie Bob Thornton's character demonstrates various creative ways to cut hair. At one point he shows a style he calls the Alpine Ropetoss, in which he does a comb-over to a fellow with a bald top but with side hair. They had interviewed one guy for it, but his true appearance wasn't quite as his headshot implied. Another fellow this morning was considered, but his side hair was too short and far too grey.

The film's hair stylist is Paul LeBlanc (Academy Award Winner for Amadeus). Background Players casting director Tracy asked me if I'd felt Everyone's Eyes on me as I came in. It seems my hair was Just The Type for which they had been looking, and even particularly, it was the correct colour It would also mean Two More Days Of Work, Friday and Monday, which of course I immediately accepted. Paul brought me to the film's director Joel Coen and the two of them literally poked about at my hair as Paul indicated how the Alpine Ropetoss would look (on me). Joel gave him the go-ahead to do it.

I was brought back to the hair/make-up trailer (two seats from a silent Billie Bob who was being done up). Paul seemed to imply that on the top center of my head he was going to create a temporary bald spot (which would be coverable by my regular in-front hair once combed back), at which point he would then apply the prosthetic comb-over hair piece to show Joel. This gave way to his suddenly buzzing clean the front of my hairline, as well as the top of my head/the middle, towards the back, until I had a near Patrick Stewart deal goin'.
Ack!
(What ah does fo' mah craft).

Paul then attached the comb-over piece, which I wore (albeit under my hat) throughout the day. He brought me back to set where I sat in an Official Cast Chair, speaking with Larry, an older fellow who will be used Friday as well. At my request a hesitant to nervous Larry took a few photos of me, but gave back the camera just as Paul brought Joel to see Paul's work on my head. I feel that a younger fellow might have realized getting another photo (of two Academy Award winners both literally poking at my scalp) would have made for a good shot.
Lovely Tracy (who used to do background work herself and is apparently quite visible in the movie The Bachelor with Renée Zellweger) hung out with we extras a goodly party of the day. She was impressed with what Paul did with me: she all but could not tell that the comb-over was not my actual hair but an attached appliance.

As I was to be "Featured" Friday and Monday, I was "buried" today (that is, barely used), so I mostly hung out, which was certainly fun enough. At "lunch" I explored some of the studio, checking out the Paramount Studios gift shop, etc. There was an official holding area, but about half the background tended to hang out "across the street" in the open. It was breezy enough at some points I flew my miniature pocket kite, until it became clear it almost like something of a wind tunnel effect, zooming the li'l thing in circles and not flying "properly."

I still did get to do the wet work sequence(s) at the end of the day, once the sun went behind the buildings enough. It was way cool to do with the fake-rain downpours: true movie magic.
We did two shots. One with actor Jack McGee as Burns, walking mostly against the crowd. We all have umbrellas; he does not. The umbrella I used was light grey with darker rings. Most of the time as he passed the cement stairway he was just passing me, and I had to veer to avoid him.

The second shot is the POV of Ed Crane (Thornton) in his car watching Burns. One of the ADs called it a Joke Shot which would make sense in the completed film. The most humourous thing about it I felt was that while in context Crane is watching from the alternate side of the street. That is, for the Burns walking shot with all of us walking the north side of the street was used. Contextually, Crane is watching from the south side of the street from within his car. Behind Crane "on the south side of the street" is people walking. That's not how it was filmed. We remained walking on the north side of the street. The car faced the eastward with Crane facing south as though he were facing the north side. This gives the illusion than behind him people are walking on the south side of the street while he looks at the north side, when in fact we are on the same side of the street on which we've been walking; we're the same people… we're simply bi-locating ourselves.

With an 8:00pm sign-out I got four hours overtime, plus pay bumps for the rain (wet work) and the hair-cut pay bump. The "cheap beh'stehd" lackies (neither of whom I'd seen until we were being signed out) tried to see about Not Giving Me The Hair Bump as they weren't aware I was being brought back. I pointed out to them how my hair hadn't been Just Trimmed, it had been shorne, which is significantly different. Before I could raise too much of an official fuss (I actually began to call out for Rusty, the main [pleasant and friendly] AD with whom we'd all been working and who was well aware of my status), they called Rusty on their radio who without hesitation approved my hair-cut bump.

Friday August 25, 2000

I arrived for my 9:30am calltime around 9:40am. After getting costumed I was brought to the hair/make-up trailer where Paul re-shaved the top of my head and attached the comb-over hair piece. I was introduced to Richard, a young fellow who was supervising the 1940's stye hair cuts. Richard was kind enough to take a shot of Paul working on me.
A few young boys were hired for the day, one of whom was slightly distressed at the prospect of an actual hair-cut. He was released. The hair cuts of the other boys looked quite good when I saw them later.
While Paul was working on me, Billie Bob Thornton was again two seats away, playing electronic Yahtzee while discussing his house getting new hardwood floors installed. He indicated with some befuddlement that he was asked to comment on the "story" of some rag "reporting" that at some eatery to which he tends to go he had been "making out" with Alyssa Milano. He doesn't even know who she is, although he guessed she probably isman actress.
"She one of the cute hotties on Charmed," I told him.
"Is that on TV?" he asked, as he is too busy to watch all that much.
"Currently she's also 'Eva Savalott' on the 1-800-COLLECT TV spots," I added, to which Richard concurred.

Over on the set they filmed the boys getting their cuts first. While I waited, I got a few shots taken of me in costume with some of the cool cars. Eventually I was brought to set. Although Billie Bob was right there, it was decided that on the right close up of my scalp and the actual Hair Cutting, it would be the hands of Paul LeBlanc, put into the barber's coat. Again, the Coen brothers were poking at my head and the hair piece, actually apologizing for doing so.
The camera is right at my scalp. Paul gently snips the edge of the hair piece and gently lies it down as the camera pulls back and up (to look down at the hair). They did a few takes of this. As they are using me Monday, I would presume that is when it's a wider shot and Billie Bob himself will be handling my hair.

Publicity cast shot at Cannes: Ethan Coen, Billy Bob, Joel Coen, Frances McDormand

I hung out for a bit, and was wrapped at 3:00pm. Paul was on set so in the make-up trailer one of the ladies removed the piece. They were nice enough to take a shot while it was on and after it was removed. Once the piece was removed, Billie Bob Thornton entered the trailer and was kind enough to allow a photo with me.
Sunday August 27th I got the photos developed at a One Hour place to see if on Monday he would be amiable to signing one of the double prints. Once I am able to scan it and other shots, I will add them to this page.

As my head was re-shaved and an appliance applied, I got the hair bump again. Tracy had left and there was no word as to a Monday calltime. Friday night, a few times Saturday and throughout Sunday, Tracy's outgoing Monday information message was not updated as to a calltime until around 7:45pm. All though everyone's calltime is 7am, once again Tracy neglected to include my name in the outgoing message. I left my name, considering how many people expected me to return.

Tracy paged me and we spoke. She'd spoken with Rusty who had me down as Completed and Not Needed Monday. Oh well; that happens. I currently have no idea as to How Recognizable I will be in the completed film. It may be just my scalp.
We will see

Sunday May 13, 2001

Stumbled across the fact on the Internet Movie Database that the film has been entitled The Man Who Wasn't There.


Wednesday July 09, 2001

Release Date for The Man Who Wasn't There:
November 9, 2001.

'The Man Who Wasn't There' poster The Man Who Wasn't There DVD is available
for pre-order for release April 16, 2002:

deepdiscountdvd.com

Saturday, February 21, 2004 DVD received

As a belated Yule gift, my friend Brian sent me the DVD for The Man Who Wasn't There, after I'd expressed having learned I am in the deleted scenes thereon.
Yep, there's my scalp.

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