Edwards resident worked as an extra in ‘True Grit’ | VailDaily.com

Edwards resident worked as an extra in ‘True Grit’

Caramie Schnell
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

EDWARDS, Colorado – On Friday night, Heather Keller got a glimpse of herself on the silver screen for the first time. The Edwards resident was an extra in the new Coen brothers film “True Grit,” which is playing locally at Riverwalk Theatre in Edwards.

Last March Keller was living with her family – husband Kirk, and children Curtis, 13, and Kaitlin, 11 – in Kerrville, Texas, where her husband previously managed the local television station.

“The casting director for the movie called the television station where my husband worked and asked for extras,” Keller said.

Keller said she wanted her kids to have a chance to take part in the film, so she agreed. Unfortunately her children didn’t have the look the film producers were searching for –“they wanted kids that looked thin and frail,” she said –but Keller herself made the cut, along with roughly 500 other people. She spent five days in Granger, Texas wearing an 18th century-style dress with a hoop skirt, leather gloves, a black wool cape and a hat, looking the part of a “townsperson” in the winter, even though it was plenty warm the days they filmed.

“It was very hot. There were days I would stand there and take my gloves and jacket off when they weren’t filming,” she said, mentioning that one woman fainted from the heat. “The third day I had to change out the gloves I had on because they had melted into my fingers it got so hot standing there.”

Sometimes they would spend an entire 12-hour day filming a 2-to-5 minutes scene, Keller said.

It was Keller’s first time working as a film extra, and she was paid $9.50 an hour, she said. In all, she is in four scenes of the movie, all of which can be seen in the first 15 minutes of the film.

The movie opened locally on Christmas Eve and Keller and her family watched it at Riverwalk Theatre in Edwards.

“My husband told them I was in the movie so I got to see it for free,” she said. “I was excited and the kids were excited. Right before it started my daughter yelled ‘My mom’s in this movie!’ I was embarassed but that’s OK.”

Keller admits she was hoping to see herself on the screen.

“I thought, I just want to see myself one time for all those hours I put in,” she said.

And indeed she did.

“I saw myself several times, in all four scenes I took part in,” she said.

The movie stars Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and Hailee Steinfeld. Keller met Steinfeld as well as Bridges, she said.

“We were leaving one day. They were shuttling all of the extras down the street to the bus and Jeff Bridges got out of one of the buses. He waved at all of us and said hello,” Keller said.

Keller’s husband accepted a job as the general manager of TV8 and the family moved to Edwards in August. When people find out she was an extra in the film, they inevitably ask how they too can be an extra in a movie. She tells them what her casting director mentioned last spring – there are websites like http://www.moviex.com devoted to such things.

“You take snapshots of your face, height, all your stats and tell them if you want to be in a movie close by and they send you e-mails when parts become available,” Keller said.

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.

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