I was a seat filler at the PCA! It was the most exciting thing that ever happened in my life! I got there at noon and the show only started at six, but it was totally worth it. I got to stand in the pit and see Jen right in front of me. She arrived a few minutes after the show started. I was afraid she wasn't gonna show up. When she finally did, I almost had a heart attack. This girl who was standing next to me had to hold me, because my legs were shaking, I could barely stand. So I waved at her and she waved at me back. I couldn't believe what was happening. Then I spent a few minutes just staring at her. So Jen caught me staring and smiled at me. It was unbelieveble. And everybody behind me was like: "Wow, she's so beautiful", "She's gorgeous", "I can't believe Brad Pitt left her!". I cried. During the commercial break, a lot of people went to talk to her. Everybody loves Jen! So after that it was time for her award. When she won I screamed and jumped a lot. Then she stood right in front of me to give her speech... I stared at her legs, her hair... She's perfect! Before she left, she leaned down to touch the our hands and I could touch her fingers. It was awesome! Then she left... Actually, all the celebrities left the audience after their award. So Jen was only there for about 10 minutes. But those were the best ten minutes of my life. Anyway, I'm really thankful for what happened today. I cannot believe that my biggest dream came true. I am this girl from Brazil, you know... then I come here and I see Jen in front of me. The whole evening was amazing. I got to see a lot of celebrities, like the cast of Grey's Anatomy. Cameron Diaz said hi to me and shook my hand. She was really lovely, really nice to the fans. I touched Vince Vaughn's hand too... :DDD You can actually see me on on the video Kamia posted right under the JAC logo when Queen Latifa is saying goodbye with Vince and Eva next to her.
Well, today was awesome! I'm exhausted, and have to rest up for tomorrow, so I'll post a full account of both days on Friday, but I will tell you one thing . . .
She talked to me (as well as Tracy, aka smns22)! Briefly, but still. And I was pretty close to her for some of the filming, and odds are good that I will be tomorrow.
I would just like to say that you guys will definitely see me in the movie, because Jen walked right past me during a bar scene that we shot yesterday (Thursday)! She was about an arm's length away from me at a certain point.
Jen is absolutely as nice as she seems. She was pretty serious while she was working, as anyone would expect, especially during the bar scene which was pretty difficult logistically. But during brief breaks in filming, she was waving at people and smiling, and when she talked to me (more detail on that in my write-up), she was totally the one to initiate it. She is so warm and inviting and so much more normal than you'd expect a star of her magnitude to be.
She is also very tiny, as everyone says. As I mentioned in my Wrigley write-up, she seems to be about my height, and I'm 5'3". At the bar, she looked a bit taller than me, but I was wearing flip-flops while she was wearing those wedges that she's worn for other scenes, so if she had maybe two inches on me, it was the shoes. She's very thin, too; I'd estimate that she's an American size 2 (which I think translates to a UK 6).
How to spot me: At the concert and bar, I'm wearing jeans and a purple and blue spaghetti-strapped top, and at the Cubs game, I'm wearing a white v-neck tee and a khaki skirt.
As far as I could tell, her skin was perfect. Granted, she'd already been through makeup, but she looked great up close, and she definitely looked younger than her age.
From what I could see, she did mingle with the extras situated directly around her. The other actors weren't on set, but she did talk with crew members, and occasionally we'd see her hugging Chris. She seemed to be in a good mood!
The Break Up: the final two days
The second-to-last day of the shoot began at 5:30, when check-in began in an exhibition hall in the Chicago Hilton. Upon my arrival, I waited in line only to find that my name wasn't on the list! The people working at the check-in table assured me that I would eventually get in, but until they checked everyone else in, I would have to sit behind them under a sign that read "Problems." My fellow Problems and I decided that we were in detention like the Breakfast Club (as we watched the other extras actually eat the catered breakfast), and there we sat for over an hour. Finally, a bit after 7, they put our names on the list, gave us pay vouchers, and sent us to wardrobe. When I was finished in wardrobe, I found Tracy and Giuseppe sitting at one of many round tables in extras holding and grabbed some of what was left of breakfast.
After we waited in extras holding for a while, we were led to the art fair set on one side of the gravelly area around Buckingham Fountain. First, Tracy, Giuseppe, and I were told to stand in one of the art fair tents, but after a few minutes we were told instead to stand outside the tents and we were given direction to walk in a path around a group of tables. As we stood waiting for setup to finish, we eagerly kept an eye out for Jen. First we saw Vince, very casually attired and in producer mode. He then disappeared for a few minutes, then returned wearing the shirt that he would wear for filming. Soon, another actor who was tall and vaguely resembled Vince but wasn't his standin arrived on set (I would later find out that this actor's name is Brad!), along with an actress (I think that her name is Kristen) who was similar in height, coloring, and hairstyle to Jen. These actors played Brooke and Gary's respective new love interests named Greg and some name beginning with B (maybe Brenda?) that I don't remember.
Finally, we spotted Jen in the area where they were setting up, wearing a brown shirt (on closer inspection it turned out to be two shirts layered one on top of the other), her khaki shorts, and the famous wedges. She kept coming in and out of sight, since the setup involved several large screens and tents, but when we could see her we could see her quite clearly. When we began filming, our trajectory took us behind Vince and the Jen look-alike, and then closer to where Jen herself was walking, so we'd often see her for a few seconds (although since the camera was always rolling at that point, no staring!). Then our spot for reset was on the other side of a giant screen, so we didn't see much of her between takes although we'd occasionally catch a glimpse of her wrapping herself in a blue-green shawl when she got chilly or we'd see her wedge-clad foot peeking out from behind the screen where she was watching playback. Chris was hanging around in front of that screen a lot, and acting kind of punchy and silly with crew members. At one point, we saw Jen looking around for him, and he wasn't paying attention, and Giuseppe said to Tracy and me, "Jen needs her hair done, and Chris is busy jacking off" (he meant to say "jacking around," which needless to say has a very different meaning!). At one point, during a particularly long setup, Jen and Vince started talking to some of the extras near them (Vince was particularly animated).
After several takes of that shot, we went back to extras holding for lunch. Along the way, we crossed this bridge over a shaded area where we saw Jen playing Frisbee with Norman, Chris, and a few crew members. After lunch, we went back to the set, but they didn't use everybody, so some of us sat just outside the art fair setup. After a while, we had a snack break, and after that they counted off a number of us to go onto the set. Once we got there, we were positioned at the edges of a carpet that seemed to be the edges of the main area that would be on camera, and we were given direction to cross in a particular order, waiting a few seconds after the person before us to start either alone or in groups of two. In our line (there were about 8 such lines as well as some people in the deeper background), the order was one group of two, then Giuseppe, then Tracy and me, then another group of two. When we began rehearsals with the standins, Tracy and I found out that we'd end up crossing behind Jen just as she runs into Vince! So then the standins stepped out, and the actors stepped in, and Jen's start position was right behind the camera, about 6 feet (I might have misgauged, but point is, not very far) from our start position! So we were in prime position to watch her work. During every take, she and Brad (the actor playing her new boyfriend) would walk away from the camera, while Vince and Kristen (the actress playing his new girlfriend) walked towards it, and then they'd bump into each other, take their marks, and start talking.
This was a wonderful chance to really see just everything about her up close. She is so gorgeous in person; her eyes are so blue and stand out even more than they do in pictures. It was interesting watching her mannerisms between the takes; on more than one occasion she reminded me of Polly Prince. Immediately before each take, she would go over lines to herself, sometimes doing a repetitive gesture to help her access the words, and then she would "zen out," somehow snapping herself into focus. Sometimes she'd shake herself out or jog in place a bit (even in those wedges!) to do it; at one point she just threw her knee all the way up to her chest (it was rather impressive, considering that I'm a dancer and considerably younger than her and even I can't do it just standing there like that!). Sometimes she'd step away from her mark to confer with the director and the other actors, and on other occasions between takes Chris would come to her to fix her hair (and would often make her laugh while he was working, just with little things he said that were probably inside jokes). Sometimes towards the end of the take when Jen was in front of the camera and Vince was behind it, Vince would make faces at her and she'd give him this look like, "Damn you!". Best of all, at one point she noticed that I was looking at her and smiled back at me! She gave me this really cute little smile with her nose a bit scrunched, if you can imagine that.
After doing several takes of that, it started to get cloudy and dark out, and not only was everybody getting cold (Jen started reaching for the shawl between takes again), but it was hard to get enough light to shoot more that day, so we went back to holding around 7 to check out around 8. I took the Metra home and went to bed ASAP to get up in time for a 6:00 call time the next day.
When I arrived at 6 the next morning, I checked in with much greater ease. I soon caught up with Tracy and Giuseppe, and we did the breakfast thing until we were called to the set. This time, the actors weren't on set yet, the shots were of a song-and-dance group performing at the fair called the Tone Rangers that was vaguely reminiscent of the Village People (the shot centered on their rendition of "Rainbow Connection"; that kind of says it all). First, we (Tracy, Giuseppe, and I) were postioned off to the side of the stage for a few takes; then, as the crew moved some equipment to that position, we went behind the stage and became part of the crowd that went out to the street (the stage did not have a backdrop, so the camera could see through it). There was a lot of standing around, walking around, and waiting around back there, so we were drawing things in the gravel and stuff. Towards the end of the morning we were asked to walk along the sidewalk, and while we were sitting on the ground waiting between takes, I thought that I saw Chris walking towards us, but it turned out to be some other guy in a gray tee-shirt (every day that I've been on set, he's worn a slightly different gray tee shirt) with a messenger bag across his body. But no Chris sighting yet, so no Jen sighting yet. You know the drill by now
After we finished shooting the Tone Rangers stuff, we went to holding for lunch (and tripped over several paparazzi in our travels) and came back out to the set, where they counted off a number of us to go back in. We were then led to an area under and around the canopy that the camera was under and asked to scramble around a few times; after each scramble some people were taken out of the shot to make the crowd less dense, but Tracy, Giuseppe, and I stayed in the shot along with many others. I was given a Pepsi cup with some water in it as my prop, and my start position was at the end of the canopy to the camera's right. I practiced fiddling with the straw and making it look like there was ice in there and like I was really drinking soda. Then, we began rehearsal with the standins and it turned out that we were doing the same moment from the previous day, but from the angle where Jen and her character's new boyfriend walk towards the camera and hit marks behind it, while Vince and his character's new girlfriend walk out from behind it. My directions were to wait for a few seconds before crossing in front of the camera.
Of course, as luck would have it, this timed me so that I would cross just as Jen approached the camera! After each take, we would reset, and once all the extras assumed their starting positions, Jen would come out from the canopy (walking right past me!) and head to her starting postion over by one of the tents. During one such reset, she saw me smiling at her, and the smile that was already on her face got a bit wider! At one point between takes, one of the PA's gave a direction where she mentioned Jen and the actor playing Greg as "Jen and Brad . . . I mean, Brooke and Greg . . ." Tracy and I looked at each other like, "Ouch!", but everyone moved right along from that rather unfortunate utterance! During some of the takes the actors would improv; not that I could hear a whole lot of what they were saying, but it was cool to see that in action. We then reshuffled and ended up closer to Jen's starting point (close enough that when Chris sprayed her with hairspray, we could smell it), and after a few more takes, we took a snack break.
After the break, we scattered ourselves around the fairgrounds, and the Tone Rangers took the stage once more. At this point it was about 6 pm and people were getting punchy, to say the least. After the second team rehearsal, the director said, "this shot's for the extras," as the camera was from the vantage point of the Tone Rangers and would focus out on the crowd. We then wandered from booth to booth to the sounds of "Rainbow Connection" for a few takes, and after one last take where we just stood and swayed to the music, it was a wrap! After thank yous to everyone on set, we all dashed back to extras holding to check out.
Like my other days on set, working on the art fair scene reaffirmed why I am a Jen fan. I am just so impressed with the warmth and professionalism that she showed on the set, as well as with her very clear love for what she does. She's very appreciative of her fans, and yet she's not one to rest on her laurels; she's always working hard to put something new out there, perhaps a side of herself that nobody's seen before or a facet of the character that isn't on the page. This entire experience just has me very impressed with who Jen is as a person; from the inside out she is classy, intelligent, and beautiful in every possible way.
Ok, well, I went over there today, and I saw them! It was meant to be a winter scene, even though it was 60 degrees out today, so there was a dusting of fake snow on the sidewalk and everyone in the scene had to be bundled up, even though it was warm (that's one thing that was nice about not doing this scene!). I had to stay on the other side of the street, so I didn't see as much detail as I did when I was on the set as an extra, but I did see a fair amount. When I first got there the screens were set up and people on the sidewalk with me were speculating that maybe Jen and Vince were already behind the screens, but then two SUV's parked on the street. Vince came out of one and waved to the crowd, and then Chris came out of the other followed a few moments later by Jen, who also waved and looked gorgeous as always, clad in a cream-colored coat.
They then began to shoot the scene; again, I didn't see very much, but it appeared that in the scene Brooke and Gary meet in front of a storefront. There were several takes, and the usual conferencing and primping in between. Jen went behind a screen during slightly longer breaks and sometimes seemed pretty serious, although at other times she was happily chatting with people and enjoying herself. And all the while people around me were on their cell phones telling their friends, "You'll never guess who I'm looking at right now!" and taking pictures. Since I hadn't brought my camera, and it's not in working order anyway, I ducked away for a second to buy a disposable one (I'll develop and scan those pics sometime tomorrow). A few paparazzi found their way into the mix as time went on, as well. Of course, set security did tell us to say quiet during takes and not to use flashes, but pictures themselves were fine.
Then they took a break for lunch, so I wandered around the neighborhood for a bit (I came under the guise of having shopping to do and I actually really did need to get a few things, but that's not important). I eventually strolled through the block where the trailers were parked, and I saw trailers marked for producers and writers, but before I got any farther (i.e. to Jen's trailer), security stopped me. I played it off all innocently and headed back to the sidewalk with the best view in Chicago ;) .
They soon started up again, I eventually found a spot where I could see Jen really well at the beginning of each take (don't get too excited, though, my pictures don't really reflect that as well as I'd hoped). They did more takes, and when it came time to reset Jen and Vince would walk together, sometimes with his hand on her back! They didn't do anything obvious as far as public displays of affection go, but they looked very cute. Eventually they took everything down and Jen and Vince left in the SUV's. At that point there was a really funny moment where the SUV that Jen was in had all the doors closed but Chris wasn't in there yet, but just as he reached for the door handle the car started to drive away! So Chris is standing there watching the car drive off without him, and the people next to me seem to think that he's just this random guy trying to get close to Jen, and I'm just like, "nooooo! He's supposed to be in there! He's her hairdresser!" Cue a collective "oh, okay" from the peanut gallery. I think that he eventually got into Vince's car. Anyway, I left after that, since the crew had taken pretty much everything down and I still had errands to run. So anyway, yeah, even though I didn't get to work the scene I had a pretty cool day anyway.
I was able to see Jen at Sundance a few weeks ago and just wanted to tell you all about it! I live in Utah, and was so excited when I found out she'd be there because I've been a big fan of hers for a long time. I bought tickets off of eBay for the opening night premiere of "Friends with Money" and it was worth every penny!
I tried to see Jen as she arrived and entered the building, but I wasn't able to because they came in at a different spot than I thought they would. I thought they'd come in the main entrance, but they came into a secret press entrance at the back of the building. So I was bummed about that, but I still got to see her so it's all good!
There were two showings of the movie that night, one at 6:30 p.m. and one at 9:45 p.m. The "main" showing, I guess you could say, is the 6:30 one. It's the the one Robert Reford says something at the beginning of, and the one where all the film stars actually sit in the audience and watch. I wasn't able to get tickets to this one because it was impossible! But I did get tickets for the 9:45 one. Anyway, right after the 6:30 one ended, there was a Q&A session that we were able to be at with the whole cast and director of the movie. I was with my sister and we snagged seats as close to the stage as we could (about 25 feet away). When the director called up the cast, I first saw Jen from the back as she went up to the stage. I could tell it was her by her cute, petite body and her pretty hair. She had on jeans, a black shirt, and a big gray scarf. I was so excited when she sat down on the stage and I could see her from the front! It was so very cool! For most of the Q&A, she didn't say much and seemed pretty reserved. I almost got the feeling that she was a little bit on the defensive and everyone was being very careful not to act like they were wondering how she was doing with the whole Brad/Angelinga thing. Only one person asked her a question. He asked her why she chose to do the movie and she said something along the lines of, "You saw the movie. It speaks for itself and I also wanted to work with these people" motioning to the other cast members. She was sitting next to Catherine Keener and you could tell they are good friends because she was pretty much only talking to her and would sometimes grab her hand or put her hand on her leg.
After the Q&A was over, the other cast members stuck around and talked to people but Jen walked out. She was sort of holding her stomach like she had a stomach ache or something.
Before the 9:45 showing, the director introduced the movie and the cast so we got to see Jen again. She came out smiling and clapped for the other cast members. This time my sis and I were on the front row so we got a very good look at her (only about 10 feet away!). When they walked off the stage, Jen and Catherine Keener were arm in arm.
Then we watched the movie, which by the way, was pretty good and Jen does a really great job!
The next day, my sis and I headed up to Park City again hoping to see some celebrities. I was really hoping that we'd see Jen again, but I didn't think I'd be that lucky. Turns out, I was!
Totally by accident, by sis and I happened upon a press conference for "Friends with Money." I was so, so excited to be able to see her again! She seemed in much better spirits than she had the night before and was laughing and smiling and seemed to be having fun. The press people were asking her questions and it was so cool to hear her answer them. It's just so surreal when you see and hear her in person because you've seen her so much on TV and in movies, and all the sudden there she is right in front of you, looking and sounding the same as you've always heard her. So very cool. She of course looked so cute. Her style is very minimalist, and she pulls it off so well!
After the press conference was over, I heard someone say that the stars would be going down the elevator. So my sis and I booked it down the stairs and just as we started walking down the hallway to the elevator, we saw her walking the opposite way down the hall! I was so nervous and excited! It was a pretty narrow hallway and we passed her, nearly touching her shoulder! I looked right at her and smiled, and she looked at me and smiled back. It was only a split second but sooooo cool! After we passed her, my sister told me that she also made eye contact with her and Jen actually smiled *and* winked at her! How awesome is that? We were on clould 9, to say the least.
We really wanted to get a picture with her, but we didn't know if she would because we'd heard the night before from some other people that she wasn't taking any with fans. But we thought we'd give it a try. So we waited for a few minutes outside of the building for her to come out. I was so nervous because I didn't want to annoy her, but I really wanted a pic with her! As we were waiting outside of the building, a crowd was gathering on the sidewalk because they knew she was in there and would be coming out. There were security people trying to keep a clear path from the building to the car, and they weren't letting people go near the building. Because my sis and I had just come out of the building and the entrance was about 20 feet or so to the sidewalk, they didn't notice us so we were able to stand there right by the door and wait for her to come out with no one else right around. She came out and when she saw the crowd of people, she rolled her eyes and said "Oh my God." You could tell that it kind of annoyed her! Then my sis asked her for a pic, and she hesitated for a second like she was thinking about it, but she said, "I can't. I'm sorry" and then the security dude who was with her stood in front of her and escorted her to the car. We were so sad that we didn't get a pic with her. Part of me understands though, because it really was crazy with all the people and what not. But the other part of me wishes that she would've, it would've only taken a second and totally made our days! I guess, though, that she really wasn't taking pics at all with fans.
It really was so awesome and wonderful to be able to see her in person. Even though I didn't actually get a pic with her, I did get a few of her at both the Q&A and the press conference, and I can't tell you how many times I've looked at them since then! She really has become such an incredibly big star that's it's pretty much impossible for her to take pics with fans in a setting like that. There was no way she could've even walked down Main Street because if she had tried, she would've been bombarded by hundreds and hundreds of people. Anyway, before I found out she was coming to Sundance, never in my life did I think I'd be so lucky as to see her and be so close to her, but I did and I'm so glad for it!
Anyway, it was so cool to see her!!
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