— by VANNA LAND —
As a fan of movies, movie stars and the business in general, I have often wondered what it would be like to actually work in the business. Since that is not very likely to happen, I decided to interview someone who currently is working in the film world.
Casey Nunez lives and works in New Orleans as a tour guide on a mule-drawn carriage in Jackson Square, but he also dabbles from time to time in the world of movies — mostly as a stand-in, but sometimes in a small role.New Orleans is fast becoming “the Hollywood of the South,” with more and more productions taking advantage of the favorable taxes, the rich and varied settings that suit just about any movie and a pool of trained and talented workers available. Watching the New Orleans Film Industry start to take off was a factor in Nunez’s decision to enter the world of movie making.
“It was, in fact, exactly that,” he said. “A lifelong friend who works in the industry called me one day to see if I would be interested in a small part in an Elizabeth Shue production that was being shot here locally. I agreed and landed the part. The movie was originally going to be called ‘American Inquisition,’ but was later changed to ‘American Velvet.’ I have yet to actually watch it.”
Nunez said he feels it is much easier getting movie extra-work or stand-in work in New Orleans than it is in the Los Angeles area. In fact, he has recently been “turning stuff down.”
“Actually, here in New Orleans, there has been plenty of work for anyone interested in the film and movie industry,” he said.
Nunez first started acting as a child. His first role was that of King Midas. He later performed with the Royal Hanneford Circus for a number of years.
According to Nunez, his imposing size also has helped him to land work.
“Yes, my size has helped me beyond question. I am 6-foot-6, 265 lbs. at the moment,” he said. “My grandfather was a professional pitcher with the N.Y. Yankees (Walter ‘Jumbo’ Brown). During his time, he was the biggest player in the American League. I credit him with my size.”
Aside from his size, another thing that makes Nunez stand out is his You Tube account, which he regularly updates with information about his current movie work — or life in general. Nunez said he created the You Tube account after an investigative report he did involving MySpace made national news.
“My experiences at You Tube have not been a fun or easy ride,” he said. “I am, in fact, the most suspended user ever at You Tube.”
The first time I heard of Nunez was when I viewed one of his videos at You Tube pertaining to his experience on the set of the movie “Dead of Night” this past spring. Kevin Munroe (the movie’s director) and Brandon Routh (the star of the movie) both made appearances in Nunez’s final video about his time on the set.
Nunez had two roles in the movie: one as a ghoul bodyguard and the other as a fill in for the main killer — a tattooed zombie. Casey reported on a fan-based website — “Getting into the tattoo zombie suit took KY-Jelly applied to my arms and upper body as two men squeezed me into the suit.”
Movie work is not always glamorous — especially for stand-ins, extras and bit players. However, shortly after he finished his stint on “Dead of Night,” Casey worked as a stand-in for Dolph Lundgren in the movie “The Expendables,” starring Sylvester Stallone.Nunez says he hasn’t worked with many famous actors or directors yet, but he has met several through other celebrity friends. He has had the opportunity of hanging out with Steven Seagal, Brandon Routh, Heather Graham, Virginia Madsen, Heather Locklear, Morty Craft, Harry Anderson, Brian Steele, Ralph Pagano, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Dan Aykroyd and quite a few others.
If you follow Nunez on Twitter, you will notice Casey meets a lot of actors while doing his tours around New Orleans. The tour business has been a good way of landing movie jobs.
“My tours have, in fact, landed me on shows such as TLC’s ‘Little People Big World’ and also MTV’s ‘How’s Your News,'” he said.
For the most part, he said, extras are treated very well. The most trying part is waiting to go on set, while “the best part, by far, is the great food they feed everyone.”
When asked if there were any actors or directors he would particularly like to work with in the future, he answered: “Both Kevin Munroe and Brandon Routh. They really made the shoot a truly fun experience.”
And his favorite memory has been meeting a certain athlete.
“Being that I am a huge fan of the UFC,” he recalled, “meeting and having a one-on-one sit down lunch with Randy Couture was beyond question the highlight for me.”
When asked where he was hoping to go in the business, whether he had dreams of seeing his name in lights or if he found the work he is currently doing satisfying, his response was surprising.
“I was just offered the part of stand-in for ‘The Big Show’ in a WWE home DVD movie starting next week, but the truth is, I am not too sure I would want a life of cameras flashing in my face as I try to enjoy a simple walk down the street,” he said. “That in mind, I am content with simply allowing the chips to fall where they may, but no, I am not someone hoping or even looking for a career in movies.”
Follow It’s Just Movies on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ItsJustMovies.