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Four Things to Know About Movie Extras
Even the background roles of a movie undergo the careful process of casting. Read on to learn more about how working actors earn their roles.
1. Even Oscar winners started as extras. Many future stars—from Clint Eastwood to Brad Pitt and Renée Zellweger—began their careers as background actors.
2. In 1925, movie producers created a company just to hire extras. The Central Casting Corporation appealed to members because it provided them with a central location where they could find work—a much better deal than the grind of driving all around town to visit the studios in person. The company was so popular that it coined a phrase: when someone's perfect for a role, they're still said to be "right out of Central Casting."
3. The Internet has made the casting process much easier. Today, an actor can read a script, meet with directors, and send in an audition tape all over the Internet instantaneously—a huge shift from the days when actors sold themselves door-to-door just to have their role given to a case of knives.
4. Some actors are famous for being extras. Garnering more than three million views, a YouTube video from 2011 titled "World's Greatest Extra" compiled a single actor's appearances from dozens of different shows and movies.
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