Dressing the part

Extras in the crowd cheer as the they watch the action during the filming of the Medfield vs. Middleton basketball game for the movie “Believe in Me” Saturday at Gattis Junior High School. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Tova Fruchtman: CNJ staff writer

Being a movie extra takes more than just showing up.

A Clovis family spent a few hours looking through old yearbooks on Friday night getting ideas for their costumes.

By 10 a.m. on Saturday, the Ratledges were all dolled up and waiting with about 80 other people in a gym at Gattis Junior High School to be a part of the crowd at a basketball game movie scene in “Believe in Me.”

Matt Ratledge, an employee at Burlington Northern and Santa Fe rail yard, and Brynndyn Ratledge, a 14-year-old freshman at Marshall Junior High School, were dressed in cuffed jeans and button-up shirts.

Mandy Ratledge, a teacher at Bella Vista Elementary, was dressed in rolled jeans and a cardigan sweater. Her bouffant hair, which her mother spent 30 minutes preparing Saturday morning, was held up with lots of hairspray and bobbypins.

“When I looked in the mirror I said ‘I look like my mother,’” Mandy said. “This is how I remember my mom’s hair being when I was little.”

Other than “staining” Mandy’s lips with red lipstick and greasing down Matt and Brynndyn’s sideburns, wardrobe and make-up personnel didn’t have to do much work on the Ratledges.

“They took us over to wardrobe and I thought they were going to pick us apart but they looked at us and said go back and sit down,” Matt said.

By noon, while others were waiting to have their hair and make-up done, the Ratledges were just waiting to be brought onto the set.

There were others on the set who didn’t have to worry about wardrobe either.

Kathi David and Carol Stevens were among many who had to wear the clothes they wore Friday to finish up scenes from the previous day.

David had been an extra in Portales a week earlier and Stevens had been a paid extra in a scene shot at a church in Floyd. Both were at Gattis until 11 p.m. Friday night and returned Saturday morning by 10 a.m.

David said she wants to be involved in the film — about a 1960s girls basketball team’s run at the state title — to support the community.

“(The Chamber of Commerce) worked really hard to bring the movie here,” she said.

Stevens said she was “enchanted” after being in the Floyd church scene. She said she had recently retired after 25 years of work and decided to come back and be an extra as her first post-retirement “project.”

“The people from Hollywood have been so nice to us,” Stevens said. “They’ve really made us feel welcome.”

The Ratledges said they hadn’t attended any of the other casting calls because of work schedules and Brynndyn’s football games, but since the family was available Saturday they wanted to try for their 15 minutes, or “15 seconds” of fame.

“We’ve always wanted to do something like this,” Matt said.
Mandy added: “I just want to see what goes on behind the scenes.”

Brynndyn said he will brag to his little sister — who lives in Albuquerque and takes acting classes —that he was in a movie.

With a late night Friday and a long day Saturday — lunch break was at 5:30 p.m. — Stevens and other extras got to experience the life of an actor, and found it’s not all glitz and glamor.

“The actors … work long, hard hours. You don’t realize that,” Stevens said.

For many of the extras it’s waiting long, hard hours — some weren’t even part of a scene after waiting almost six hours.

During the down time on the set, David took time to get a handle on what the movie was all about. In her purse, she had a copy of the book “Brief Garland,” which the movie is based on. The first few pages were full of autographs from the original coach, players and members of the cast.

By 3 p.m. Brynndyn was wondering if he would have anything to brag about to his little sister. The Ratledges were still waiting to be brought onto the set. “I could still be sleeping at home,” Brynndyn said.

A few minutes later, though, the Ratledges were brought onto the set to stand next to the bleachers during the scene.
Then, the director pointed at Brynndyn and asked him to move to the center of the bleachers — right behind one of the actors playing a basketball player’s boyfriend.

“If this goes well today we may pack up and move to Hollywood.” Matt joked. “That’s what I’m thinking.”