03 December 2000
Queen of the Damned

It's 4am Saturday, it's 2 degrees Celsius (about 35 Fahrenheit), I'm wearing a corset that I can barely breathe in and I've been standing in these heels since 7pm the previous night in a dusty quarry in the middle of Bumfuck, Nowheresville. And I'm an extra in the movie 'Queen of the Damned'.

How did I get here? Chiliflower, a friend and Anne Rice fanatic, heard they were filming QotD (really a mish-mash of 'The Vampire Lestat' and 'Queen of the Damned') in Melbourne and that they needed extras for a concert scene. Best of all, it was being filmed on her birthday. So we got ourselves involved and then frantically planned our outfits.

A week later, we were standing on an abandoned wharf waiting for a flotilla of buses to ferry us off to a 'secret location' (actually an old quarry out past Werribee). Half the fun was scoping out the other outfits. There were gorgeous creatures as far as the eye could see. A king's ransom in velvet, lace and pvc and more black eyeliner than you could point a pointy thing at. And the sorts of cleavage that made me feel like an ironing board.

There were a few hard-core Anne Rice fans (who were patently not goths) standing around slack-jawed in amazement. There were also a couple of try-hard travesties that were good for a giggle. We were all herded onto the buses and amused ourselves on the long trip by terrorising other motorists on the highway.

The setup when we arrived was quite impressive. Huge cranes and cherry-pickers stood about a big stage. Flanking the stage were tall columns that spouted enormous gouts of flame every so often (good for congregating around when the temperature dropped to single figures) with hieroglyphs painted on them. On either side of the stage were totem-pole like statues with the head of Anubis on one and Osiris on the other. There was also a large, and somewhat mysterious, circus tent off to one side, away from all the action. We had a good look about as we were locked in until buses arrived at 6am the following morning to take us home.

As soon as the sun went down behind us, huge banks of lights came on and filming began in earnest. We were handed props to wave about at the stage. I'm not sure how toy pitchforks and glowy skulls on sticks were supposed to make us excited or even look more gothy, but that's what they wanted, so that's what we did. Chili got a skull on a stick that we immediately dubbed 'Scully'.

We couldn't get to the front of the stage, that was the exclusive preserve of the 300 or so paid extras who had been there for days filming this sequence. So we strategically positioned ourselves next to a stunt goth.

stunt goth colloq. 1 n. stunt person dressed in a gothy manner used to crowd surf so that the plebs don't get dropped on the ground, break a leg and sue.

Our stunt goth was a 6" tall girl with a maroon bat collar. Her 'handler' rounded up the beefiest looking guys nearby to hoist her up at the right moment and jiggle her back and forth. Most of them looked pretty happy with that arrangement. Although some of them were wearing some serious hardware on their fingers. I imagine stunt-goth-girl went home with a couple of puncture wounds along with the bruises.

We had to learn the lyrics to the chorus of what must be the lamest song in the world. It's by the lead singer of Korn, which probably explains a lot. I spent the next few hours mouthing:

I see hell in your eyes
Taken in by surprise
Touching you make me feel alive
Touching you makes me die inside

Poor Lestat. What did he ever do to deserve that dreck? We mouthed along for a bit as Stuart Townsend (Lestat) pranced about onstage in tight leather pants and a mesh shirt. Helicopters circled us, the camera swooped overhead, we waved our props and went nuts. The director yelled cut and they brought on a band to entertain us while they set up the next shot.

The band wasn't interesting, so we decided to check out the circus tent. I tried to steal one of the glow-in-the-dark-bats-on-a-stick for Our Lady of the Squeaks, Michelle (bat fanatic and Anne Rice fan extraordinaire). Chili tried to steal Scully, but we got busted by the prop nazis. It was a little hard to hide a large glowy batty on a metre long stick in what I was wearing.

The circus tent was basically a sheltered space for us to rest up. There were heaters but no chairs. I paled at the thought of trying to sit on the ground in my outfit. It had a busk of wood running from my bustline to my pubic bone. Not a chance in hell.

We wandered back just in time for more filming. It was getting late and we were getting hungry and a little weary. Production people got mobbed as they handed out luke-warm cans of Red Bull. It tasted like piss, but we were thirsty and needed the energy boost. One girl in red, thigh-high, lace-up, stiletto-platform, pvc boots (with matching pvc hotpants and bustier) was already sitting down between shots to rest her feet. It took three of us to get her back up on her feet again. Her pvc was covered in dust and the velvet around me was looking grey with it as well.

In the next break in filming, there was food. We mobbed the food vans like locusts and got nummy things to settle our grumbly tummies. I managed to lever myself down to the ground on a bit of cardboard box someone had stolen. Once we warmed up, rested up and fed, we filmed some more. We did a bunch of different scenes including flying vampires and the queen herself menacing something that I assume will be put in later. But by then it was cold and nasty out. Most of the goths were curled up like puppies sleeping in the tent. I watched the last of the filming from the sidelines, wrapped in a blanket I'd stolen from production, then headed back to the tent for a hot jam doughnut and a nice cup of tea (which is the most important part of any ordeal).

They started handing out bags with souvenir t-shirts and stickers to the crowd straggling back. Buses began to arrive and the sun began to rise. Time for all good goths and vampires to snuggle up in bed.

Postscript:

A couple of days later, Chili got an email from the production people. Her name was drawn to go to the LA premiere of the movie. Lucky cow. I think I'll stow away in her suitcase.

ladymisstree • 09:28 PM


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