published Thursday, April 11th, 2013

City Beat: Hits keep coming for '42' extra

For the last couple of weeks, people have been calling with their "42" tales.

For Gary Miller, his "42" story didn't end when filming wrapped at Engel Stadium last summer. Miller was a paid extra on the film, working as an umpire along with fellow real-life ump Wayne Hickey. Technically, Miller had a speaking part. His line was "Out." On the day I visited filming, Miller had just shot a scene involving a scene at second base. Miller said he felt bad for the actor who had to slide over and over to get it right.

On Tuesday, Miller and his wife, Sharee, flew to Hollywood to attend the world premiere of "42" at Grauman's Chinese Theater and to walk the red carpet. The couple did not get the star treatment, however, because of his role in the film, he pointed out in an email.

"Delta Skymiles had on online auction late last week and I was the successful bidder [using skymiles]," he said.

The two will be allowed to take a bunch of pictures, and Miller reached out to director/writer Brian Helgeland, whom Miller befriended during shooting.

"I emailed Brian Helgeland, '42's' director and writer, who I got to know and who was so nice during the audition and filming process, telling him about us going to be there for the premiere hoping to get our photo with him, not really expecting a response. Well, lo and behold, a couple of hours after my email to him he responded with a 'yes' about the photo. In part, reading 'Hello Gary, nice to hear from you! You do really well on the film, and I think you'll be proud. I'll see you there! All the best. Brian.' Sharee and I hope to represent Chattanooga well."

Miller said in the email that the Delta representative told him he does this all the time for premieres, but Miller's visit will be a first for him.

"He asked if I was listed on the Internet Movie Database website's "42" page ( www.imdb.com/title/tt0453562/fullcredits#cast ) and I laughed, saying yes but he needed to scroll 'way down' before he gets to me, listed as 'Umpire -- Major League.' He said this was very cool because it will be the first time they'll have someone on the red carpet who was actually in the premiering movie."

Miller also said that he and Hickey were called a couple of months after "42" wrapped to appear in "The Hunger Games -- Catching Fire." They spent a week filming their parts in Atlanta. The film will be in theaters in November.

"[The casting director] wanted us for our 'looks' (old/ugly?), so we had no lines and will be uncredited. We'll probably end up on the cutting room floor. It was a great experience being in some scenes with the stunt people and real flamethrowers, but with me being a real baseball guy, not nearly as special as '42'."

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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