On the Breaking Dawn Set: A Glimpse of Life as an Extra

Many people talk about how they would have wanted to be on the set of Breaking Dawn. Here are the glamorous and not so glamorous details for a movie extra.

Working on any movie is a lot like camping, but being an extra in Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, with its secret remote location and total ban on electronic devices, made us feel like inmates in a prison camp.

As guests at the biggest vampire wedding in film history, we were bussed from West Vancouver to Squamish and offloaded at the base camp, or “circus,” which snaked down an easement in the forest. After wardrobe, hair and makeup, we passed through “checkpoint charlie” metal detectors, then rode in vans to the extras “holding” tents where we sat for hours eating junk food.

On a couple of nights, one of the producers came to warn us about their security team, including frogmen on the river, to prevent anyone from photographing the set. We must not inform anyone of the set’s location and must report any coercion, he said. And no speaking to the actors, no matter what. We were among the “fortunate few” to be chosen, he reminded us, but our participation depends on our compliance with security. Have a nice evening.

You won’t see me in that night’s scene, where the happy couple exit the reception, since I was practically standing in the forest. Nor was I visible in the next day’s wedding ceremony, when I was placed so far from the aisle as to need binoculars.

We sat in the wedding set for two days, on logs that seemed to grow into benches under a canopy of wisteria. A quick shot to rise and turn toward to the bride, then more waiting and shivering. And was that thunder or an avalanche in the distance?

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