CHARLOTTE, N.C.-- This weekend, Showtime's new series Homeland premieres on the cable network. A lot of folks in the Charlotte region are ready to see their work on the small screen.
Much of the terrorism thriller starring Claire Danes was shot in and around the Queen City.
It is a huge score for the Charlotte area, said Tona Dalhquist, the woman charged with casting extras for the show.
With home bases in both Columbia and Charlotte, Dahlquist has worked with some big-name productions through the years.
Everything from Academy Award winning movies like 'Forrest Gump' to historical projects such as 'The Conspirator' or just goofy and fun projects, like 'Who s Your Caddy' to 'Leatherheads' with George Clooney, she said.
This year alone, she's served as the extras casting coordinator not only for 'Homeland', but for the feature film, 'The Hunger Games'. In August, I know there were days where I actually posted on our Facebook page that over 600 people are filming in Charlotte today between the two projects, Dahlquist said.
Those productions filmed in places like Freedom Park, which is featured prominently in 'Homeland's' premiere. From the campus of Central Piedmont Community College, to areas of Shelby to the old Philip Morris Plant in Concord, the extras Dahlquist casts have gotten a tremendous taste of what television and moving making is all about.
On every project I've worked on an extra does get upgraded to a speaking line so it is kind of like winning the extra's lottery, she laughed.
The days on set can be long and extras need to know up front they're not going to get rich.
An average project pays minimum wage for your first eight hours and then time and a half after that. Sometimes there are adjustments say if you come to a wardrobe fitting or if we gave you a haircut or if we're using your vehicle, she added. Dahlquist estimates, 'The Hunger Games' alone put roughly 3,800 extras to work and even though the feature film based on the wildly popular books has now wrapped, 'Homeland' is still shooting.
We've probably got three or four more episodes left on season one and we just never know what we're going to need from episode to episode, she said.
Dahlquist is honored to get to work close to where she lives and thinks all the exposure is tremendous for the region. Not only for the recognition that each project brings, but for the impact it will have on the economy, said Dahlquist. She says a lot of money is spent on lodging, car and equipment rentals and hiring workers behind the scenes.
She's found not everyone enjoys the extra experience. She usually gets one of two responses. You are either going to love it or you're probably going to say I checked it off my bucket list and you know, that is that, she said.
Anyone interested in submitting to be an extra needs to send a current snapshot along with name, phone number, age, height, weight, clothing sizes and where you live. Dahlquist also likes to know your hobbies, your career background and what kind of car you drive. She may need it for a scene. Right now, her biggest need is for what she describes as professional business types, both men and woman of all ethnicities.
Email your information to firstname.lastname@example.org. She also updates casting information on Tona B. Dahlquist Casting and Homeland Casting on Facebook.
Watch NewsChannel 36 tonight at 11 for Bobby s full report on Behind the scenes with Homeland s casting coordinator.