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JIM IS THE STAND-IN FOR ACTOR GREG KINNEAR ON THE FILM SET OF "BABY MAMA"!

Background: Former Saturday Night Live writer and "Weekend Update" anchor Tina Fey, star of her own NBC TV show "30 Rock"(she's up for a 2007 Emmy for best comedy show and female actor in a comedy)--has added the film "BABY MAMA" to her starring credits. Her co-anchor on SNL Amy Poehler costars in the film--which deals with a single professional woman (Fey) opting to hire a surrogate mother (Poehler) so she can have a baby and keep her career on track. Actor Greg Kinnear stars as the love interest of Fey's character and Sigourney Weaver stars as the head of the surrogate agency. I was aware of this film as I had been called a few weeks ago to be an extra(background actor)on some scenes shooting in NYC. When the call time was bumped up to be an overnight shoot--I realized it would conflict with a music gig I was doing the next day--and so I regretfully had to bow out...this would be the FOURTH TIME I'd decline a Tina Fey project due to contracted music gigs becoming an obstacle--the other times were for her "30 Rock" TV show. On Tuesday July 17th I was preparing to drive to Ocean City NJ for a private surprise anniversary house party I was playing when my cell phone rang--it was Diane Heery Casting in Philadelphia. They were asking if I'd be interested in being the "stand in" for Greg Kinnear the following day on the set of this "Baby Mama" film shooting in Philly. They told me I was their "first choice" as my resemblance to Kinnear was the closest of all the actors they had on file(a "Stand In" usually resembles the starring actor and helps the film crew establish their camera angles/lighting for each shot; they then step aside and allow the main actors to shoot the scene). My mind reeled at the great opportunity and I tried to think if there were any conflicts that again would stunt my chance to work with Tina and Greg--there were a few calls I had to place to avail myself--so I made those calls and called Heery Casting back to say YES! They told me to check their website later that evening for the call time for Wednesday(it is determined by how late the shoot goes the previous day). Being that I was in Ocean City until at least 10PM--I had my sister and other friends checking the site--it was not posted until after 10:30PM and as I drove the 2 hour trip home from Ocean City I learned that I had to report to Front and Reed Streets in Philly at 8:30AM to catch a shuttle bus to our first shoot location(which would be Chinatown). The film shot mostly in NYC from May through July--however "BABY MAMA" is BASED IN PHILADELPHIA so it was necessary to go there to do scenes germane to the plot. What I learned is that the film in fact was "wrapping"(finishing)the week of my involvement with it--and only 3 days would be spent in the City of Brotherly Love. 4 scenes were scheduled on Wednesday--my "stand in" scenes for Kinnear were scenes 2, 3 and 4. We were all told to show up with casual summer clothes and a few "changes" for the other scenes--though I brought a veritable wardrobe I learned from the wardrobe folks that I could stay the same thoughout the shoot(that worked for me!) I wore jeans and black dress shoes with a flowery blue Hawaiian kind-of shirt over the pants. The bus driver took us at about 9AM to Chinatown where we all walked the streets in varying ways to shoot some "atmosphere" of that area. About 50 extras had been called and I quickly was acquainting myself with several of them as we enjoyed a lovely morning on the set. When that was successfully captured, I was told to report to a van where I would be taken to the Kimmel Center at Broad & Locust Streets(where I had played a private corporate function a year and a half ago in their "Tier 2" restaurant area). Here I met "Laura B"--the Tina Fey stand-in who also works with her on the "30 Rock" set(which she told me she begins work on again in one month). The director had us entering the Kimmel Center lobby together and walking about 60 feet into the center of the lobby(the idea is that the characters are "dating" and so I had my arm around her and we were chatting in a friendly manner). After a few takes and hitting "our marks"(preset pieces of tape on the floor), many of the background actors were added to the mix to create the atmosphere as we entered the Kimmel Center. Tina Fey entered the building near the end of our "stand in" work and she smiled at me instantly--I actually did not realize it was her at first as various people were entering the lobby to purchase tickets for productions there, and I assumed she was another "ticket buyer". As she approached us I said "OH--Tina!" and introduced myself with a handshake. She looked very pretty--A navy blue blouse and conservative skirt; her hair well done and sans her usual eyeglasses. I noticed Greg Kinnear had entered the lobby at some point and he was dressed in jeans, a cool lime green shirt and funky white and green sneakers. At this point they then took over and did a few takes(they are called the "A TEAM"--we are the "B TEAM"). Laura and I would then ascend to Tier 2 and then Tier 3 to shoot other scenes overlooking the lobby,and not long after Tina and Greg would put their unique stamp on the scenes of them flirting and enjoying the ambient Kimmel Center spectacle(these scenes today had no lines--essentially I envision music being the backdrop and the actions of Tina and Greg would speak volumes and become a "montage" for their various dates at Philly landmarks.) After what they call a "walk away lunch" I was then transported to Scene 3 at Love Park at 16th and Arch Streets--heavy rains and thunder had been forecast for today and sure enough the skies at 3PM were looking ominous. Anticipating this, the film crew quickly erected a tent to keep most of us dry as a hard sustained rain began to fall. After about 45 minutes a reprieve availed us the chance to walk a bit around the Love Park "circle" and we stopped at a designated area for a "kiss"(again dozens of background actors were added to the scene)--soon after Tina and Greg appeared and they shot the scene as quickly as possible before another rain event might occur--thankfully it held out and became sunny and more humid then previously. Greg needed to be at another appointment by 6PM so I knew that we would be wrapping somewhat early today(shoots can go up to 18 hours)...today would be Greg's last on the set, and the next day Tina would work a half day and then the film would be "in the can". Around 4:30-5PM the van took Laura and I a short distance over to the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the final scene of the day--we would be seated on a park bench at the the top of the stairs--during the setup for the scene, a high school friend of Tina's visited the set with her three little kids(Tina is originally from Upper Darby PA). I chatted with her friend(Marlene)and her kids as they were so excited to see Tina--I learned that she lived perhaps 20 minutes from me in the Collegeville PA area. When Tina arrived on set she hugged her friend and the kids and not long after they were all placed on an adjacent park bench by the director-- where they would be seen in the film(I thought that was a sweet touch). Around 5:30 the director said "Ladies and Gentleman, the final day for Mr. Greg Kinnear! This is a wrap!" We all applauded, I came over and introduced myself to Greg and told him it was "great to be him for a day". Tina was chatting with her friend, and at that point I reminded Tina that I had done a sketch comedy show for years based in the Lehigh Valley but it had aired in NYC on Manhattan Cable("The Sturdy Beggars Comedy Show")--Tina had met our writers a few years ago when they were interviewed by Lorne Michaels for SNL--she said "Oh those guys are FUNNY! I was just thinking of them this week". I asked her to keep us in mind for potential situations on her "30 Rock" TV show. She thanked me--and I headed to the shuttle bus with the rest of the actors as we headed back to Front and Reed streets--we all had "vouchers" that we need to fill out so we can be paid--so in a flurry before we boarded the bus, we had them signed by the staff and our copies returned to us...a few nice friendships were forged today, and a great experience once again as my Screen Actors Guild membership proved to be a fortuitous vehicle--enabling me to work with the best in the business--thanks for reading and look for "BABY MAMA" in theatres in 2008--when you see those Philly scenes in the film--remember who did them first!

JIM LOFTUS ORIGINAL MUSIC PLAYER

UPCOMING GIGS/EVENTS

  • October 20, 2018
    MOHEGAN SUN POCONO "Bean & Vine Cafe and Wine Bar", Wilkes-Barre, PA
     
  • November 3, 2018
    ALLENTOWN ART MUSEUM(Cocktails & Collecting Fundraiser), Allentown, PA
     
  • November 23, 2018
    MOHEGAN SUN POCONO "Bean & Vine Cafe and Wine Bar", Wilkes-Barre, PA
     
  • November 24, 2018
    MOHEGAN SUN POCONO "Bean & Vine Cafe and Wine Bar", Wilkes-Barre, PA
     
  • December 1, 2018
    WILLIAMS RESTAURANT(private), Easton, PA
     

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