Help Kickstart a Documentary About the World’s Greatest Extra

July 5, 2013 in Culture, Film by Justin Beach

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You might remember Jesse Heiman from his roles in Old School, the Social Network, Catch Me If You Can or Spiderman but probably not. Jesse is an extra, but a very prolific extra he has appeared in over 300 films and television programs. There is something about his look that, apparently that directors like to have in the background:

“Jesse has offered up the face dreammakers sought: homely, earnest, innocent, and brave. Over time, Jesse’s pure determination has made him an unlikely, irresistible worldwide face.”

Eventually, after appearing in project after project Jesse found a fan. Someone in a small town in Sweden noticed that Jesse always seemed to be there, in everything he watched. Wilhelm Hempel catalogued and cut together the face that had been haunting his screen and compiled the images into a video which has, to date, been viewed more than 3 million times.

Presumably, it was that video that brought Jesse to the attention of GoDaddy. Suddenly, Jesse was front and center in a Superbowl ad. There was still no talking but there was French kissing a super model, which is definitely a step up from just sitting in the back ground.

Now a team of documentarians is chronicling Jesse’s story. From an unemployed guy in California to one of the world’s most prolific extras, from extra to French kissing a supermodel and from there to whatever comes next (which is probably more extra work but who knows.)

Emily Carrol and the folks at Magic Happens Production have set up a Kickstarter. They are hoping to raise $65 thousand to try to tell the story of one of the unsung heroes of Hollywood. The heroes who fill the other seats in stadiums and theaters, who happen to be eating in the same restaurant as your favorite stars, who run and scream when bad stuff happens and who majestically walk down the street while celebrities deliver their carefully written lines.

So read more about it, donate a few dollars and the next time you watch a movie or tv show, look a little more closely at the people in the background. (Or, you know, don’t because the whole point of extras is to fill a shot without really being noticed. Noticing them could hurt their careers and hurt your enjoyment of the film, but whatever, do what you want.)

Here is a bit more about Jesse Heiman: World’s Greatest Extra

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