copyright 2001, D. Glenn Arthur Jr.
Last updated 1997.
Okay, you saw the reference to Forrest Gump on my wish list page and wondered where I am in it, right?
When Forest is taking pictures of the Lincoln Memorial and a busload of "Vets For Peace" pulls up for the demonstration (and Forrest gets swept up in them by mistake), I'm the last (or next-to-last, but I think I was last) vet off the bus.
I was also hanging out behind the stage when the same group (yeah, I was in two places at once -- oops) goes up the stair to the stage, but that four or five seconds of footage may have been cut. (I'll have to go back and watch the videotape again.) If you see two vets playing guitars right there, one of them is me.
When Forrest is on the stage with Abbie Hoffman, I'm two rows behind him. Almost exactly behind him. So you'd have to have really quick eyes to spot me as he leaps off the stage. Good luck.
I'm one of the folks wearing a dark coat and dark hat in the candlelight vigil scene. I couldn't spot myself. Enough of my face is covered in dark whiskers, that there's just not enough face left to see in a night scene with all that dark clothing. But I'm there.
In the night scene in the hippy camp, I'm somewhere off to the left, near the front (i.e. closer to the camera) of the set, playing guitar. I don't know whether I'm ever in the frame or not. (I'm not in the frame on the videotape.)
Working as an extra on Forrest Gump was quite an experience. An awful lot of my friends and acquaintances were there as well. (Gee, I guess I tend to associate with people who look like the 1960's.) It was bitter cold, but I got to dress warmly. Some of my hippy-extra friends were dressed for summer, and they froze. All in all, the film crew did try to take care of us. They eventually realized how bad things were getting and let the hippies into the (heated) buses between takes.
Working as an extra was also the only reason I was able to buy my family Christmas presents that year. I'd just left my job to go on disability, and the doctors hand't figured out why my arms hurt so much yet, so the disability insurance company was dragging their feet and not sending me my benefit checks yet. My money had quite run out. I tutored a friend who was having trouble with a computer course, and she fed me when I came over; then I used the money she paid me to buy groceries for the rest of the week. A week or so before Christmas, the check from Central Casting arrived for the work I'd done as an extra in November.
Being an extra is zero-glamour, and part of what you get paid to do is to not stand out. There's a lot of waiting (and your day starts well before dawn), and a lot of going where you're told and doing what you're told and being just another cog in the wheel. But despite all of that, I did have a lot of fun. There was a lot of time to talk to the other extras; greeting old friends and making new ones. And I took a guitar with me to play when we were waiting at the tent they stuck us in when we weren't needed for an hour or four. And even being involved in such a tiny way, it felt neat to be helping to make a movie.