With new health and safety guidelines in place, Hollywood’s best and brightest are headed back to work.
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But remember, this is Tinseltown: not everyone gets a green light. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is only allowing essential cast and crew on set. For those deemed nonessential, this is business as usual.
“As a background actor, my job is to be inconspicuous. I’m there, seated in the courtroom, in line at the coffee shop, but you don’t notice me.” extra Jesse Heiman told The Avocado. But COVID-19 is taking this invisibility to the next level. As Mr. Heiman put it, “I still need to make a living.” Enter: Zoom background acting.
With video conferencing taking the place of face-to-face interactions, Zoom backgrounds have become a newfound source of entertainment. From turning oneself into a potato to speaking in front of a picturesque waterfront, Zoom’s virtual backgrounds are making space for levity and creativity amidst these trying times. Now, they’re also keeping extras in work.
According to television executive, Grant Meier, “Everyone loves a toddler barging in on a call. That’s the kind of thing that gets attention. But my son is 17 and hates my guts! I wanna go viral! It’s not fair!” After reviewing thousands of headshots and audition tapes for the role of “Young Luke,” Meier found his new son. The project subsequently fell through due to the executive feeling “upstaged.”
Some roles are markedly experimental, such as Hugh Jackman’s Horizontal Dresser. Similarly, Aaron Sorkin is said to be holding auditions for Big Pile of Money.
One of the most highly anticipated Zoom backgrounds comes from Gary Busey; the latest rumors suggest there are dozens of candles and one angry parrot.
Although our current times are steeped in uncertainty, one thing is for sure: background actors are no longer on mute.
By Grace Fetterman