Throwing it all the way back to when I had the chance to learn alongside Nicole Kidman, John Travolta, and other amazing actors. Here is to a little part of me that I left behind in Kentucky.
While attending Northern Kentucky University (NKU), I participated in short films for local competitions which was fun and a great way to network with other theatre and film enthusiasts. This is how I was introduced to D. Lynn Meyers, a casting director based in Cincinnati, OH who was inviting the public to join a casting call that she was going to hold for ‘The Blunderer’, a psychological thriller starring Patrick Wilson and Jessica Biel. The movie was set in the late 50s and was later renamed to ‘A Kind of Murder’. At the casting call, I waited with my friend in a short line, filled out some paperwork, got our pictures and measurements taken, then were told they would contact us if we were needed. Thankfully, my schedule was wide open as I was in college and I did not mind skipping a class for a new adventure and chance to make new memories.
I remember listening to the voicemail. “Juliane!!!!… Congratulations, the director picked you for a featured part”. Being new to the film scene, I actually had to google what that meant: while still being in the background, I had a featured role which meant I was going to interact with the main cast. I was going to be the maid (with apron and these chic retro glasses).
A week before the actual shooting day, I had my fitting downtown Cincinnati. I was excited when the elevator doors opened and I was guided into a dressing that was stuffed with beautiful costumes and accessories. After trying on my costume, my picture was taken and shortly after it was proclaimed that I was exactly what the director had envisioned – YAS (Mission Accomplished – I just looked like a typical German maid…)!
The shoot was in Reading, OH and call time was noon. I was out of hair and make-up around 3pm (I will never forget all that hairspray), and we started shooting around 5pm. By that time I was called upstairs to meet the director who was so welcoming and funny. He then introduced me to the main cast: Jessica Biel and I talked about Germany and my plans after college. She was sweet and breathtakingly gorgeous (also newly pregnant with Justin Timberlake’s baby). The scenes we were filming that day were for the cocktail party. While the remainder of the background actors stayed downstairs, I already got to shoot two scenes with the main cast which were unfortunately left on the cutting room floor during post-production.
That’s me on the very far right:
We shot until 2 am that night – there was lots of cigarette smoke (cigarettes had to be switched out every time we reshot a scene for continuity) and for the remainder of the evening, my job was to ‘fake serve’ appetizers to the cocktail party guests (they were not allowed to eat the appetizers and instead had to place it back onto my tray after every take).
This day was magical – while waiting for the director to give me instructions, the hair and make-up artists would touch up my look while the main cast would go over their lines. I ended up sitting with the cast in the holding area instead of the background actors, to ensure they could call me back up within seconds. And thankfully this was not my only chance to dive into the film business…
Thanks to D. Lynn Meyers, I also got to play a neighbor in ‘Gotti‘ starring John Travolta in an overnight shoot, James Franco ate a Sandwich next to my car while I was being a patron in ‘Blood Ride‘, Mickey Rourke’s ‘Tiger’ got me a seat by the ring-side as a spectator, I played a hospital visitor in ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer‘ with Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell, a classmate in ‘UFO‘, as well as a coworker in ‘Curvature‘.
Impressions from ‘Tiger’ (captured by Greg Lynch Photography):
My 80s hair-do in ‘Gotti'(post shoot):
While one can barely see me in the movies (only if I point at myself), the experiences I have gained and the people I have met were more than worth the long wait in the holding areas. And who can say they were part of several movies shot in the United States? Due to my newfound networking skills, I made contact to another casting director further up in Ohio, Angela Boehm. She was casting background actors (mostly school kids) for ‘My Friend Dahmer‘ directed by Marc Meyers. Disney Channel’s Ross Lynch was starring as the title role (and I did even know who that person was until the kids told me in disbelief). I submitted for a teacher role, but ended up being cast as a high school student (I was 24 years old, the youngest of my ‘classmates’ were 11).
The shoot was in Cleveland, a 4 hour-drive up North. I left at 2:30 am as call time was 8 am. I received a few outfits to try on as the movie was set in the 80s. We spent all day at a high school close to Dahmer’s former home (they also shot scenes in his original childhood home). We shot two scenes in the auditorium, one in the gym, and one in biology class. I had a blast, but it was a hot day and we did not wrap until 8pm that night, but that was a Sunday well spent!
‘My Friend Dahmer’ was just picked up by HBO, most of the other movies are still in post-production or have made it onto various streaming services.
That’s me on the bottom left corner:
Watch the trailer here.
Over the years, a lot of people have discredited those amazing days and nights I got to spend with like-minded, ambitious, and highly creative people because at the end I was just a tiny part of a big production. Thankfully, no one can discredit the experience and skills I have gained along the way and some of the people I met have a very special place in my heart. And by the way, my face made it into the ‘My Friend Dahmer’ Trailer and I have my own IMDb-page as proof. #accomplished