Elderly Background Actors

I work on the Fox Lot and the way to my office in the Old Executive Building takes me past the sound stage where the TV show “How I Met Your Mother” is shot.

I’ve only seen one of the leads once, but I often see the extras. Typically these people are young men in suits and/or hot women in short dresses or evening attire. Particularly lots of these attractive women.

But this morning was different. A coffee station had been set up, which I’ve never seen, and all of the extras were clearly over 65, all in evening attire, i.e. except for 3 young men who clearly were cast as waiters. It’s the first time on the Lot I’ve ever seen so many older actors in one place being called in for a shoot… at least a dozen of them.

It’s hard to say if these older people did background work as a hobby in their retirement, or were actually working actors who had had a long career. I imagine the latter only because of the grimness or sadness on the faces of so many of them… as if their expressions said, “I was once a leading lady and now I’m being relegated to a background visual punchline.”

I had such an overwhelming sense of sadness… seeing them sitting out in their chairs throughout the day, as I passed the Commissary Lawn… just waiting to be called in. Perhaps of course, this is purely my own anxiety about my own tumbling years. Thus I could be imagining their angst and frustration, and they were just having a grand old time on those folding chairs. After all, at least the grips had put up fabric to give them shade.