The story of a controversial 2014 crime in Massachusetts that became known as the “texting suicide case” will begin production in Savannah next month for a limited series on Hulu called “The Girl from Plainville.” And hundreds of local extras are needed to help bring the real-life tragedy to streaming life.
Bill Marinella, who was the casting director for the “Devotion” movie that used dozens of extras while filming at the Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport in April and May, is once again looking for a range of women and men, ages 18-70, to be extras that are essential to recreating the complicated story of Michelle Carter and Conrad “Coco” Roy.
Also, unlike most movie shoots where extras may only work for a few days or a couple of weeks, Marinella said the Plainville production is looking for extras that could be part of recurring scenes through December.
“Since this will be a multi-part series, they are looking for continuity with extras to be characters in neighborhoods, work sites, hospitals and other sites that will be filmed in the Savannah area from August to sometime in December,” Marinella said. “For some people it could be their job for several months. Of course, we will need extras who are only able to work for a few days, as well.”
Anyone interested should go online to the site: https://kaast.app/bmc/2021-tba-true-crime-series
If you have already registered in the Kaast system, you can submit new photos and select the extras role you are interested in. If you are not registered to work as an extra, scroll down the page and follow the links to sign up.
“You register for free in our casting application. There is no fee to sign up,” Marinella said. “You will be asked for your physical characteristics and to upload some photos. Once you are registered, we’ll search by height and weight and age. We’ll then send you an email with the dates of production to make sure you are available.”
‘The Girl from Plainville’
On July, 13, 2014, following digital exchanges with Carter and his family, Roy, who was 18, died by suicide by poisoning himself with carbon monoxide fumes in his truck in a Kmart parking lot in Fairhaven, Mass. Carter, who was 17 at the time, was accused of encouraging him in text messages to commit suicide. The case was the subject of a notable investigation and trial.
Carter requested a trial by a judge and she was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, chiefly on the basis of her final phone call in which she forcefully told Roy, after he had become scared, to get back inside his truck as it filled with lethal carbon monoxide.
Carter appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the case was denied. She was released from prison in January 2020 after serving roughly 11 months of a 15-month sentence.
According to “Variety” magazine, the story will be focused on Carter’s story up to her conviction, offering the back story of the events leading up to the suicide, and why her boyfriend took his own life.
Roy is described in the series as a sweet, caring young man grappling with anxiety and loneliness in a world he doesn’t feel he fits into, according to the Variety story.
Carter will be portrayed by Elle Fanning, who plays Catherine the Great in the Hulu series “The Great.” She was nominated for a Golden Globe for best actress in a Television Series Musical or Comedy.
Fanning, who is the younger sister of Dakota Fanning, has been in 45 films and numerous television productions, since she started acting at the age of 3. Some of her most recent movies include, “Maleficent” and the sequel “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” “The Beguiled” and “Live by Night.”
The Variety article said Roy will be played by Colton Ryan, who recently finished filming the feature adaptation of “Dear Evan Hansen.” Also, he recently starred in the Apple series “Little Voice,” and the features “Uncle Frank,” “The Social Ones,” and “Adam.”
Specific roles for extras
Marinella said the production also is looking for actual first responders for specific roles as extras.
“Frankly, real-life EMTs and officers carry themselves with a certain authority that offers a more realistic depiction in a scene,” Marinella said. “Real first responders will receive a higher rate of pay, too.”
As a casting director, Marinella’s job is to find what are commonly known as extras that are seen in the background of most movies.
“I’m hired by a production company to find people who want an opportunity to be in the movies,” he said. “I’m the middle man. I get a script and from that script I get a breakdown that tells me how many people I need in each scene and what they look like so it reflects the actual life depicted in the production.”
In addition to “Devotion,” Marinella has worked as a casting director for the recent productions of “Wonder Woman 1984,” “Respect,” the biopic of Aretha Franklin and “The Underground Railroad,”