By Amy Woolvett THE COAST GUARD NovaNewsNow.com People all across the South Shore got a chance for their 15-minutes of fame and a close look of behind the scenes during the filming of the production Moby Dick in Shelburne last week.
Close to 100 people were called in on Tuesday, Oct. 6, one of the final days of local filming, to be the background extras for a scene that transformed Shelburne’s Dock Street into 1851 Nantucket.
The extras were quickly dressing into their costumes while make-up and hairstylists were busy transforming their looks into characters resembling the period of Herman Melville’s novel.
Women were corseted tightly while men were brushed with brown makeup to resemble dirt.
Just before the extras were to be on set a producer stood up to go through some rules. “Do not decide to add to your character in any way,” he said. “If you are told to walk one way you are to walk that same way every time.”
He warned of the tiring nature of the work, they would be standing around and working and reworking the scenes for a better part of eight hours.
He also cautioned that under no circumstance would any of the extras be allowed to initiate conversations with the lead actors of the production or else risk being kicked off of the set.
The TeleMunchen Group’s $25.5-million mini-series hooked William Hurt, who stars as the fanatical Captain Ahab, Ethan Hawke, as Starbuck, the first officer of the whaling ship Pequod and stars Charlie Cox, Donald Sutherland and Gillian Anderson.
Despite some long cold nights of filming, extras enjoyed the experience of being part of the production. “It is so interesting to see how things work behind the scenes,” said Elizabeth Kingsland, a Shelburne County resident and extra.
Another local resident with her costumes full skirts billowing said she found the work to be interesting and experienced no stage fright while the cameras were rolling. “I’ve been around too long to be nervous,” laughed Leonna Smith.
During shooting on the waterfront, shots were taken and retaken by the meticulous director.
During their off-camera time some of the extras talked about how interesting the big named actors were and how they were just regular people like everyone else.
One extra told of how Hawke walked around the set taking pictures of groups of extras in full costume.
The scenes shot in Shelburne and Lunenburg are the only ones to take place in Canada and the rest of the filming will be done in and around Malta in the Medditeranian Sea.