Corsets & Cookie Monster

I got a call out of the blue from a casting agent asking me to be an upcoming movie being filmed in Albuquerque.  I couldn’t quite figure out how they got my name & number but I figured it was from when I had signed up my kids in a few talent agencies years ago.

Since I have a regular 8 to 5pm day job, I kind-of wanted to find out what the movie project was all about before I gave her my answer one way or the other.  The only two words I needed to hear was:  Johnny Depp and I promptly told her that I was “in”.  She said it was a movie called The Lone Ranger and she asked me to show up on set the following Tuesday for wardrobe fitting.

Tuesday came and I told my boss I was going to take a long lunch.  I drove out the set location, several miles west of Albuquerque.  It was a little western town in the middle of nowhere that they had built especially for the filming of the movie.  They had even built their own railroad with real running train cars for the set.  You can see a video clip by clicking here: The Lone Ranger set

I stepped out of the transportation van into another era.  Everyone was dressed up in period pieces from the 1840’s, all drabbed out in muted brown & grey tones, dressed head to toe “in character”.  There were hundreds of railroad workers with suspenders on and black greasy faces.  The women were dressed up in big poofy long dresses, pointy boots, little fitted jackets with tiny umbrellas, and curly locks pinned up under hats.  I felt so out of place in my bright colored flowery tank top, shorts & sandals.  It felt like I had gone back in time and into another century.  It was AMAZING!

1840's Dresses

1800’s Dresses

I found the wardrobe tent amongst all of the other tents behind the set and checked in with the wardrobe director.  She asked me to strip down to my undies and no bra.  I gasped in disbelief “What?”.  She said “They told you on the phone that this was a fitting, right? We need to put you in your costume today.”  I guess I hadn’t really paid attention to what the lady on the phone had said after I heard those two little words (Johnny Depp) but I was completely unaware that a fitting was more than taking waist & hip measurements over my clothes.  Eeeeeek!!!

I promptly stripped down to just my undies and stood there.  I heard someone quietly laugh behind me and I glanced over my shoulder.  There was another woman changing by herself & she gave me a smile.  I looked down and realized that was wearing the Sesame Street undies that I had just bought the week before.  They had a big Sesame Street cartoon faces of Elmo, Cookie Monster, & Oscar the Grouch across the butt area.  I wanted to DIE.   I quickly tried to explain that I bought them because I have toddlers and just to make them smile I wanted to wear ELMO on my butt…. Yep.  Really embarrassing.  I’m a 34 year old woman wearing underpants with sesame street characters on them!  No wonder they were on sale at Sears….  kinda creepy & inappropriate for a mid-30’s woman to be wearing toddler cartoon character undies…

The wardrobe woman put me in a real cotton corset from the old days with metal hooks in front, lace up tie in the back.  She then put me in a full old fashioned petti-coat with the huge wire ring around the bottom so that when you walk it bounces & nothing hits your legs so you feel like you’re walking around naked.  She covered that with a big heavy dress, full of many layers of ruffles.  She added a long sleeve blouse, a little jacket, a shall, a fancy coin sack, and a bonnet hat that tied in the front.  The final piece she added were REAL old fashioned madam boots, those cute little lace up boots with the little hourglass heel & pointy toe…  I loved them!
When she was done dressing me up & “fitting me”, she took a photo & labeled it with my name & a # and told me she’d see me the following week for the filming of the “Jupiter train scene”.

I went home and googled the movie.  It came up with a cast listing.  Armie Hammer plays the Lone Ranger himself.  He’s the actor who played one of the arrogant twins from The Social Network.  We found out later that our very own babysitter, Shelby, was playing the Stand In for Ruth Wilson’s character. And Berry Pepper was the little girls Dad in the movie True Grit.  The director, Gore Verbinski, seemed to be a Johnny Depp fan.  He has directed him in Pirates of the Caribbean & Rango, both of which were nominated for and/or won Oscars.  He also directed “The Ring” (Naomi Watts) and “The Mexican” (Brad Pitt & Julia Roberts).

It’s only $9 per hour but I’ll take it for the experience… another bucket list item: To be in a major motion picture movie even only if as a background actor – check.


















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