So a little over a year ago, we saw an article floating around in social media that mentioned they were looking for “extras” for a new movie that was being filmed locally in small town PA. All we knew at the time was that it was a boxing movie called Southpaw and it was about a boxer Billy, who enters the hardest battle of his life as he struggles with redemption and to win back the trust of those he loves. We met with a producer and when they found out we were photographers in “real life” they asked us to be ringside as part of the “media” in the movie! Ummm, YEAH! I can handle that! The next thing we knew, our elbows were on the mat and Billy a.k.a. Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams and 50 Cent were right in front of us! Lights, Camera,…..and LOTS of action!
Although we did sign an exclusivity paper which means we couldn’t talk about certain aspects, this is a blog about our experience! It was seriously so much….down to the recent premier party we had for all of our Pittsburgh Peeps when the movie released this past weekend!!
What an amazing experience it was….SUPER long hours-like 10-12 hour days until the wee hours of the night but it was so cool to see how everything behind the scenes works at big production movies! I mean, my undergrad degree is in Communication Media so I had a good bit of knowledge of what happens on the production end of things, but to see it in person, to watch how they light a scene, to witness them run their lines, to be so close to Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forrest Whitaker and 50 Cent, to experience the high-intense energy…it was amazing and it will be one of those things I will never forget-I mean Jake’s fake sweat went all over me during one of the punching scenes (gross and awesome all at the same time)!! We’ve waited more than a year for the movie to come out and according to movie critics, it’s an awesome movie…we were soon to find out during a premier party! I’m so happy that Greg and I got to experience it together! We were both press photographers and got to sit ringside of the boxing matches. That means we were so close if we wanted (and were super creepy) we could have reached out and grabbed their legs, but I kept myself in check! haha! But like I mentioned earlier, during the punching scenes, I got Jake Juice (that’s what I call it) all over me. It was equally gross and cool all at the same time! We also could hear them running their lines over and over, we were within earshot of the producer Antoine Fuqua and could hear him directing the actors/actresses!
See….”Jake Juice”!! haha!
Yes I did get to go thru hair and makeup! It was so much fun! For the first time in my life curls stayed in my hair for longer than 2 hours! I immediately went out and bought the same curling iron afterwards! haha! Yes they did tell us what to wear, but they also had wardrobe there so if what you brought was just all wrong, they’d assign you to an outfit(s) to wear….I was “media” so I didn’t have anything super flashy!
Because they take great care to all the small details, we were given press passes to wear by the ring side. You can actually see Greg wearing his in this still shot below. This is a shot taken from the movie and posted online as promotional image for Southpaw. Greg is in the lower right hand corner…that bald guy–yep, that’s Greg! 🙂 There were a total of 3 matches that we were a part of… and with some special effects and movie “trickery” they turned the IUP Kovalchick Complex located in small town Indiana, PA into Madison Square Gardens and Las Vegas Caesar’s Palace. You literally would’t be able to tell it was shot in small town- AT ALL!
And then out of the blue, we were in the movie theatre in Monroeville, PA and saw the first movie poster for Southpaw….so in true cheesy style, we got a selfie with it! 🙂 Yeah, he looked just a sexy in person! haha!
We met so many awesome people during this whole experience..and then we got to hang out with them all again this past Friday when we got together at the LOEWS Movie Theatre in the Waterfront. We met up at a restaurant before hand to hang out and then we got to sit in the VIP section to watch the film…..which is AMAZING!!!!
You can see the news coverage for the premier here:
I got to dress up…..how fun! Greg sported his T-shirt, I didn’t have one …….but as you’ll see below, I FINALLY got one!! Below, the Indiana, PA crew representing!! WHAT WHAT! haha!Mike Clark, from WTAE (who has a speaking roll in the movie) showed up to our premier party! Such a nice guy-and truly “authentic” which as we know sometimes is hard to find in the “media”. Chelsea, the extras casting director brought along a few goodies for us! I’m so happy I finally got a t-shirt, they didn’t have one that fit me before!! <3
Basically, we have no shame!! haha!
The whole experience was just so awesome! While watching the film on the big screen it was so awesome to see the scenes that we watched them film 5-6 hours for only make maybe 5 second worth in the film, some of the shots were even cut completely. My most memorable shot was when they did the slow motion of Billy Hope being punched and the “jake juice” went all over the place-including me…..that scene was just awesome! I love the pull back shots of the arena, because in person, there was only maybe a 1/4 of the people in the stand, but with a little movie magic, it looks like the entire arena is FILLED to capacity! The shot below shows what I’m talking about, you can see in the upper left hand corner, there is no one in the seats…in the movie, it’s filled digitially!
We know from being there that none of the scenes were filmed consecutively, but how they cut everything to seem as if it did…..so cool! In the actual film, I spotted Greg a bunch of times, myself a few times, but let’s put it this way….I don’t see Hollywood calling us anytime soon! hahaha!
I’m no movie critic, but I can tell you the movie is INTENSE! I cringed, I gasped and I cried…..and I KNEW it was going to happen!! It was an fantastic movie and I think it’s a good combination of action and drama…I’d give it 2 thumbs up!