Last summer my friend Freddie, who makes a living as a casting agent, asked me if I wanted to be in a Jaguar ad. I immediately pictured myself at the wheel of a sleek new convertible Jag, gliding through the streets of Paris in a pair of oversized sunglasses, scarf trailing behind me.
Apparently they already cast someone for that scene. An actual model-actress (picky picky).
Freddie just needed me to be an extra. "You’ll be in a cocktail party scene at a château about an hour outside Paris," she said over the phone. "It will be two nights, pretty late. Have you got a sexy dress?"
And did I mention we get paid for standing around looking glam, sipping wine, and having a team of hairdressers and make-up artists making sure we look fabu at every moment?
So I was given the name of another extra (to carpool, like good Parisians), and we drove out to the Château de la Verrière, the same château seen in my fave French film, Le Libertin, and soon to be seen again on the big screen as Sir Teabing’s estate in Da Vinci Code. It was June, but it was freezing. Windy, cloudy, and damp. We were shooting our scene at night, but had to arrive at lunch for hair and make-up. There was a lot of standing around while the main actor-actress team did scenes on the grand staircase, in the gardens, on the horse.
At one point the actress, wearing a gorgeous dress (YSL, I think) was thrown from the horse when the smoke machines spooked him. The pompiers were called in. Her throat and face were scratched up, but they were mostly worried that she had cracked a rib. So off goes the star of the commercial to the hospital for x-rays. Not that there’s one nearby, we’re in the middle of nowhere!
So more waiting around (she came back okay, a real trooper), stuffing ourselves at the food table, reading magazines, admiring each others’ bouffants. Finally we got to do our scene, the party. The first night we were in the living room, the second night we were in the dining room. All of the doors and windows were open for the crew. We were freezing. The rest of the crew went off to St-Tropez the next morning to film more scenes, but alas the extras are always local so that was the end of my adventure.
Here are the ads, appropriately called "Gorgeous", that you can watch on the Jaguar website. The scenes Im in are in the "Gorgeous" and "Wants" clips. You’d have to have pretty damned good eyes (and the pause button) to see me, but enjoy anyway. The cars are soooooo gorgeous, that’s for sure!
Heather, You are amazing. I grazed in just for the lack of anything better to do after a perfectly lovely and boring suburban pool party tonight. Although I could never fault my dear neighbors for we all live here in suburbia…Keep writing and keep including me with anything (ANYTHING) that you "escribe", s’il vous plait!!! I want to enjoy and laugh; for I have little to laugh at, for now, except with sarcasm. I lived thru Vietnam and loosing friends there. Keep your humor, keep it as long as you can. My Carolyn and I adored you very much. Thanks for letting us in a bit. I adore your sarcasm tons Heather here on your www. You remind me of my adventurous being back in the very late ’70’s, post-Vietnam and thank you. AND Heather – no movie-star needed, skinny one or not – You are absolutely beautiful! Bonsoir,Lynsey Desmond~