Ten of the Weirdest, Most Distracting, and Accidentally Funny Movie Extras

31 Oct

The other day I caught a bit of The Dark Knight Rises on TV, trying to understand Bale’s weird voice, and wondering when Batman would lose his.  Then I spotted something in the background: an extra doing something accidentally hilarious and stealing the scene. I YouTubed it later to make sure I wasn’t imagining things, and yep, it happened – unintentional comedy at its finest. I know that every time I watch The Dark Knight Rises from now on I won’t be able to help spotting that extra.

It got me thinking about some other movies involving extras doing things that steal the scene, and next thing you know I had a blog post. Enjoy, but be warned: you’ll never watch these films again without being distracted by these extras.

The Dark Knight Rises

The movie that started this whole thing. The scene involves Batman and Catwoman on a rooftop, forced to fight side by side against a bunch of crims in order to get out alive. The job is made that much easier by the scene’s Star Extra, who gives the Dark Knight and his love interest a helping hand. Watch on the left of your screen above Batman’s shoulder and see if you can spot Star Extra doing something odd:

Yep: unless there was an unseen sniper somewhere, Anonymous Villain #3 just got floored by a ghost. Great stuff. Although in his defence, crumpling to the floor untouched is probably a better option than getting punched in the face by Batman.

Star Wars: A New Hope

Possibly the most famous example of an extra stealing a scene, in this passage from Star Wars: A New Hope, Star Extra is one of several storm troopers entering a room on the Deathstar in search of Skywalker, Solo and Leia. Unfortunately he was so focussed on searching for the rebels that he didn’t pay quite enough attention to his surroundings:

Someone had better report that to Darth Vader as an OH&S issue. The scene became so famous that when George Lucas made a number of changes to the film for his updated special edition, one of the few good ones (let’s not delve into Did Han Shoot First here) was to add a thud to emphasise Star Extra smacking his head. Nice touch.

Back to the Future: Part III 

Another famous scene involving an extra comes from the third instalment of the fantastic Back to the Future series. Watch the younger of the two boys on Doc’s time travelling train, as he’s going to do something a little weird.

WTF indeed. The prevailing theory is that the boy was trying to indicate that he had an urgent need to go to the bathroom, although another theory is that director Robert Zemeckis told the kid he could help direct the scene. Judging by the look on his face, I’m sticking with option one. He should’ve listened to Doc and gone before they left. After all, a journey from 1885 to 1985 is a heck of a trip.

Teen Wolf

Also starring Michael J Fox, this documentary about a 5’6” high school student turned werewolf winning a basketball championship is fantastic. During the climactic scene the crowd stand up and cheer their winning team. One Star Extra, however, wished they didn’t jump to their feet so quickly.

Yep, Star Extra just got caught with their pants down. I’m not sure if Star Extra is a man or a woman, but either way, I think they misunderstood what is meant by a movie’s climax.

Ghostbusters 

Enthusiasm is a good thing. Over enthusiasm, not so much, especially when your role in a movie is Random Guy #47. Do your job, blend into the background, and let the stars do their thing. In other words, don’t do what this screaming lunatic does at about the 1.30 mark.

I know the Ghostbusters are awesome, but relax pal.

Million Dollar Baby 

Speaking of over enthusiasm, this Star Extra is worse than the Ghostbusters guy. See if you can spot him. Clue: he is really, really, excited about the boxing match.

He’s lucky Hilary Swank didn’t jump the rope and clock him.  I think that comically over-exaggerated high five was just funny enough to have saved him.

Everything Must Go

You know, you actually can do your job too well as an extra. Take these kids. Clearly the director told them to keep still in the background.

There’s still, and then there’s ‘are we sure they’re still breathing?’ still.

You Only Live Twice 

Sometimes, a Star Extra doesn’t even have to be human. They can be a very scared cat that really, really doesn’t want to be in the scene.

‘The roof just exploded!  Why are you just standing there?!?  Run!  RUUUUNNN!!!  MEEEOOOWWW!!!’

North by Northwest

Even though he pretty much ruins the suspense for any person who notices him in the iconic Hitchcock thriller North by Northwest, I kind of empathise with this Star Extra. Tensions are high when Eva Marie Saint’s character, Eve, draws a gun. But will she actually use it?  Will she be able to pull the trigger or is it an empty threat?  Ask the kid behind her in the blue top.

One glance at Star Extra and we all know what’s coming. Can’t blame him from protecting his ears though. Maybe if the victim had have seen him the scene would’ve ended up quite differently.

The Last Samurai

Finally, if I empathise somewhat with the last kid, I downright feel bad for this Star Extra who isn’t even responsible for stealing his scene. One of countless samurai waiting in formation for Tom Cruise to arrive, he happens to be standing in the wrong place when Cruise dismounts his horse.

I’m not sure if he badmouthed scientology or had the audacity to look Cruise directly in the eye, but he sure copped it. Kudos for returning into an upright position as soon as he did – that is no mean feat. Especially after colliding with Cruise’s mean feet.

Do you have any favourite scene stealing extras?  Let us know in the comments section below!

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