Miley Cyrus’ movie “The Last Song” premieres Wednesday in Statesboro and theatres nationwide. Statesboro’s Jenny Lynn Anderson and her two daughters were extras on the Tybee Island set on June 29, 2009. The following is a glimpse into their experience by Jenny Lynn. The Anderson family will be on a trolley leaving from Tybee Island with fellow movie goers to attend the premiere in Savannah.
Being an extra in the Miley Cyrus movie “The Last Song” is the greatest friend of a friend of a friend story of my life.
Our friend and Tybee Beach realtor Keith Gay knew a makeup artist on the set who was renting a house from him during the filming of the movie. She knew the casting director and well, voila, my two teenage daughters Morgan and Allison and I got to be extras on the movie set. All we had to do was show up at the Tybee Beach YMCA at 8:00 a.m. on the appointed day, and we would get the parts.
Sure enough, I walked up to a table, gave them our names, and we began filling out the non-union talent vouchers. Once the paperwork was completed, we were handed light blue wristbands to wear signifying we were OFFICIAL.
Next stop … the gymnasium where makeup and wardrobe were being done. What I thought was a perfect shade of pink lipstick for the movie was soon wiped off by Atlanta makeup artist Theresa McCoy who works for the Local 798 Union.
“We are striving for a minimal, beachy look,” she said. Gone were Allison’s sparkly gold eye shadow, my pink t-shirt, and Morgan’s cute red and white sheer cover up. We were told the colors were too hot for film. Who would have known? Even though we were rookies, our bathing suits made the cut.
We were then given the following terse instructions: no cameras on the set, no video, do not talk to Miley or any other actors or we would be thrown off the set, and continuity of clothing and accessories was important….translated…my hat needed to stay on the whole day. We were also told that we needed to plan on possibly working at least 12 hours that day.
Aware that a 100 degree day was a real possibility, I was having trouble embracing this newfound reality. I had signed my life away, given strangers our social security numbers…. we were stuck.
Hollywood Here We Come
As we arrived with the others on the beach, a casting fellow plucked the three of us from our crowd of 50 and told us to go behind the scene of the beach volleyball tournament area. Our job was to be extras who walk toward three teenage boys and talk to them. Let me just say that I was very excited about this….being cast as a teenage girl at the age of 46.
My children were appalled. Protesting, they kept asking, “Mama, are you sure they want you in this role?” I assured them that the man had not lost his mind and that he cast me in this very perfect part. I told the girls we had a job to do and this was my job….to pantomime chat with the trio as no talking on the set is allowed.
As if I had done this my whole life, I made gestures with my hands, really accentuating our non-existent conversations. My girls looked horrified.
After about three hours of pantomiming with the testosterone trio, let me tell you, it was starting to get hot. Production assistants passed out water throughout the morning, but you really needed some ice to combat this type of heat. Shortly before noon, we took our first break. I was already feeling somewhat delirious and light headed.
I was glad for the break, because now, positioned under a tent, I was able to take in the entire movie set. The set for this day only was the 10th Annual Coastal Classic Beach Volleyball Tournament. Bleachers were set up on all sides of the court and my daughters were positioned on the west set of bleachers. Their job was to cheer for the Hollywood actors.
While observing the tournament, I got to speak to most of the volleyball athletes and discovered that all of them play together in tournaments along the east coast. They were also graduates of Georgia Southern and College of Charleston . Bob Massee, a teacher at William James Middle School, was cast with three other players as tournament referees.
Up until this point Miley’s double had been seated in the bleachers, but at around noon, Miley appeared on the set and the electricity in the air immediately intensified. “Everyone was trying to compose themselves in her presence, but inside we were doing somersaults and wanting to scream, ‘Miley Cyrus is right in front of us’” said daughter Morgan.
After a quick barbeque lunch, we returned to the volleyball set for the afternoon. Production wrapped at 6 p.m., and we each pocketed $60. Even though Allison was glad to get the money, the blue-eyed teenager who didn’t want to leave the set at the end of a long, hot day admitted, “I would have done it for free.”