Excitement and anxiety were palpable at Plano High School on Wednesday when casting calls for paid extras for the film dubbed Autumn Frost were held.
Autumn Frost is the code name for what is alleged to be the new Superman: The Man of Steel film that will be shot in Plano and the Chicagoland area in August. Men, women and children of all ages, shapes, and backgrounds had been lined up long before the 5:30 p.m. start time.
By 6 p.m. a line had already snaked the entire back exterior wall of the school and out to the baseball fields on the west side. Early estimates suggested that 400 or 500 had shown up for the casting calls but at the end of the night those estimates shifted to 2,000 eager extras.
Eric Fields of Plano was among some of the first to be seen by photographers.
“It was quick," he said. "I filled out a questionnaire and they took a picture.”
Fields, along with other hopefuls, was left with no indication of whether he will get a chance on the silver screen.
“They were just doing their jobs and then moving on to the next person,” he said.
After waiting on average for an hour in line (some of that time in the rain) people entered the gym in groups of 50 to 100, filled out a form with their personal information such as height, weight, shoe size and clothing size, had a picture taken by one of the photographers and dropped the form into a box.
“All that time for that!” yelled one young girl exiting the gym.
“We were told it would be really fast in and out,” said Plano Mayor Bob Hausler. “People are excited. Everywhere I go there’s mention of it.”
Crews have been working on and near Main Street, and the city is allowing them use of two parking lots to build temporary sets, Hausler said. Filming will also take place at Centennial Grade School.
“I’m excited; it’s a good thing,” Hausler said. “I know they’re buying things in Plano, and the main objective is buying things locally.”
Angela Way, a secretary at Plano High School who was supervising the event, said people started showing up much earlier than the advertised 6 p.m. start.
“People were here at 11 a.m.,” Way said. “One person showed up at 6 a.m. and we’ve received hundreds of phone calls.”
Although there was no clear description of what type of people filmmakers are looking for, there was some indication of how many people.
“We were told they’re looking for 35 people for one scene, 50 for another and a busload of kids,” Way said.
Besides three men wearing cowboy outfits, applicants were dressed in everyday clothes and an occasional Superman shirt.
Christina Sailer brought her Great Dane Gunther to audition even though animals were not requested.
“It seemed like something fun to do,” Sailer said. “I just thought what the heck.”
The turnout was greater than expected by Plano High School staff and photographers with the casting agency. At 7:30 p.m. the line was still wrapped around the back of the high school and people continued arriving even though there was no guarantee they would be seen by photographers after 8 p.m.
At 7:50 police officers blocked the entrance to stop last-minute hopefuls from getting in at the direction of photographers, but they did see everyone who had been waiting in line.
Cheryl Carlock decided to check out the scene as things were wrapping up.
“I was going to audition, darn,” she said as staff shut the entrance door.
“I think this is the most exciting thing for Plano. It’s going to put us on the map.”
Those who couldn’t make the casting call can apply online at http://afbackground.com/. Applicants should hear back from the casting agency in about a month.