I have a friend who occasionally works as an extra on TV shows. He tells me that it’s anything but glamorous, with long, very boring days, and lots of standing around waiting for a scene to be set up. His advice if you’re going to work as a background performer: bring a good book.
Extras going to work on HBO’s Westworld, however, might want to leave the book at home. By the sounds of it, the upcoming show’s production is going to be anything but dull. Background actors are being asked to sign contracts consenting to everything from appearing fully nude to bareback riding and “genital to genital touching.”
Apparently, extras on the new series “may be required to perform genital-to-genital touching, simulate oral sex with hand-to-genital touching, contort to form a table-like shape while being fully nude, pose on all fours while others who are fully nude ride on your back, [and] ride on someone’s back while you are both fully nude.”
The acting union SAG-AFTRA has expressed concern about the contract, issuing a member alert to inform extras that the contract is “unenforceable,” and reminding them that “consent to appear in scenes requiring nudity or sex acts may be withdrawn at any time.”
Westworld is a remake of the Michael Crichton sci-fi thriller about robots gone awry at a futuristic theme park. It will star Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, and James Marsden. It’s not clear at this time if any of their genitals will be touching each other.