By Jim Healy
Bill Marinella has been casting extras for the major motion picture “Devotion,” which has shot scenes in Savannah, Bloomingdale and Statesboro, for the past four months. In fact, during the next two weeks, dozens of Bulloch County residents will take part in scenes filmed at the Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport that will serve as backdrop for the $90-million Korean War-era movie. They also will earn at least $154 per day and get an inside look at how modern movies are made.
Now, Marinella is looking for even more extras in Southeast Georgia to be part of Tylor Perry’s “A Jazzman’s Blues,” in which the Georgia actor, producer, director and writer is teaming up with Netflix to produce the film.
According to Variety magazine, the film is a passion project for Perry that he has been trying to make for more than two decades and was the first screenplay he ever wrote — originally penning it 26 years ago. Set from 1937-87, the story follows an investigation into an unsolved murder unveiling a story full of forbidden love, deceit and a secret that has been held for 40 years.
The film primarily will shoot at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta and be released on Netflix later this year. But Marinella said parts of the first section of the film will be shot beginning later in April in Southeast Georgia, specifically Midway, Hinesville, Pooler and Savannah, and they need extras as soon as possible.
“Right now we’re doing a simple open registration so they can get in the system,” Marinella said. “Once we have a variety of ages, races and genders in the system, we will send targeted emails to what we need for extras. For instance, if we need 18 to 25 year olds that are blonde, we can send a particular email only to those that fit that description in our system.”
There is no fee or other costs to register. Here is a link to register for the Tyler Perry film: https://kaast.app/bmc/2021-tba-production-1940s-film.
Marinella said the production is looking for men and women 18 years old and up of all ethnicities to be part of the movie.
Information also is available on Marinella’s Facebook page – Bill Marinella Casting in Savannah.
Once registered in the system, extras will be selected and the first thing they do is go take a COVID test. Marinella expects the testing to begin in mid-April, but he did not have an exact date or location for the testing. He said extras must have two negative COVID tests prior to be sent for costume fitting and they will be paid around $40 to travel to take a COVID test.
An additional incentive for extras on "A Jazzman’s Blues" is a higher daily rate of pay. Instead of the standard $154 per 12-hour day extras earn, the Tyler Perry film will pay $200 per day.
Also, Marinella said the production is looking for some extras who are Black and are musicians. They will receive a bonus fee on top of the $200 per day.
“One of the keys to be an extra is to be flexible with your schedule and we know it can be tough to take a day off from work,” he said. “But at $200 a day, that may get a few more people to make it worth their while to take a few days off. Plus, you get to be in a movie, which is a lot of fun.”
As a casting director, Marinella’s job is to find what are commonly known as extras that are seen in the background of most movies.
“I’m hired by a production company to find people who want an opportunity to be in the movies,” he said. “I’m the middle man. I get a script and from that script I get a breakdown that tells me how many people I need in each scene and what they look like so it reflects the actual life depicted in the production.”
Marinella has worked as a casting director for the recent productions of “Wonder Woman 1984,” “Respect,” the biopic of Aretha Franklin and “The Underground Railroad,” which will premiere on Amazon Prime in May.