It’s always fun and educational to talk with the stars of TV shows and movies about their early days of acting. Most spent years working in small stage productions, commercials or low-budget movie before finally getting that one big break.
James D’Arcy, who stars in the upcoming “Cloud Atlas,” has been a working actor since the mid-‘90s and has a lengthy list of professional acting credits. You probably would have seen the British actor in the film “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.” “Exorcist: The Beginning” or on TV shows like “The Closer,” “Virtuality” and “Secret Diary of a Call Girl.” In “Hitchcock,” a feature film to be released later this year, D’Arcy plays Anthony Perkins.
Long before he was starring in movies with Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, D’Arcy was a struggling actor looking for any work he could find. One of those jobs was as an extra in a movie. Those are the people you see in the background eating, talking, watching a sporting event or doing some other everyday activity to make a scene look like its taking place in a real location.
“I got this job to be in the stands for a boxing match that was suppose to be taking place in the ‘40s,” D’Arcy tells me during an interview for his work in “Cloud Atlas.”
The actor was only 19 years old and sported long hair down to his shoulders. He was told if he wanted to be an extra, the hair had to be cut short. D’Arcy agreed and showed up for the filming with very short hair.
“I looked over and the guy next to me had this long ponytail. I asked him why they didn’t cut his hair,” D’Arcy says. “He told me that we were extras and no one was going to see us anyway.”
Lesson learned and shared.