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John Parker , who plays Bunchy Collins in Home of the Giants

A Letter from Bunchy

Author : Daniel Chia with John Parker

Photograph courtesy of John Parker © 2005

An Original article for the Home of the Giants Tribute Site . First published 23rd December 2005

 

Warning : Mild Spoilers in Article

As webmaster of the Home of the Giants Tribute Site , I get lots of email about the film, but on the 20th of December 2005, I received one that intrigued me tremendously . It read ....

I breathed a sigh of relief this afternoon after seeing my name on the list of credited actors in the film. For a while I was thinking I was "cut out" of the flick.

When I did my filming back in September, of course I told EVERYONE, and there was the usual hullaballoo connected with a movie being shot in our small (relatively speaking) city of Greensboro, and the fact that I was "in" it.

I answered the ad in the News and Record, I brought a book because I thought I would wait in line, I mean this was to be in a movie, right? No crowd ... walked right up, filled out a sheet of paper, and one of the casting staff said, "write Bunchy on his sheet…". They were having difficulty casting a featured extra part, and I had the right "look". They said call backs in a week--a week went by and no call, I was bummed. Well, they called . I was "fitted" for my costume (costume folks approved my own clothes) and took them and said they would be in my "trailer". How psyched was I ? On the day of filming , I show up, change, and go to "make up". In the trailer I meet Ken Mitchell, who I would be doing my scenes with. What a fantastic guy. There is no way I would have had the fun I had without his guidance.

So we ride the van to the set and do our scenes. They said a stunt man would be driving the van I did my scenes in, but the 1st A.D. said get in and drive, so I did.

A film set is a fascinating place. At Wendy's on Battleground, there were the three pricipal actors, Haley, Ryan and Ken. Me (featured extra man) and +/- 15 extras. Total people on set: had to be 120. I mean there were people everywhere, doing everything. There were two identical cars for Haley to drive, one with a full-blown camera rig mounted on the hood one without. It was very cool.

You might be asking, "how does a featured extra make it onto the credited cast list"? Here's the best part---wait for it--I was "upgraded". I would have done the whole thing for free (in fact, I checked the "will work for no money" box on my sheet) but I got paid. It was (aside from my wedding and the births of my two beautiful daughters) the best experience I have ever had.

So if you read this here's my advice--if they have an open casting call in your town, run, do not walk.

I think this will be a really good movie, with or without me…I'm just glad it's with.

Thanks.

Bunchy

A quick check with my official sources confirmed that there was indeed a character called " Bunchy Collins " in Home of the Giants , and that he was played by a first time actor by the name of John Parker . This was our first encounter with an actor on the credited cast list , and we just had to find out more. John was nice enough to send us a picture of himself , and provided us with additional information about himself and about his role in the film .

 

I am a Lead (like a supervisor) in a FedEx Kinko's Distribution Center here in Greensboro. I was at lunch one day and someone handed me the newspaper with a casting call story (The guy who handed me the paper has been been trying to break in to "the business" for years and he and I had spoken about movies, TV and the like) so he knew I would be interested. A couple of days later I went to the downtown hotel where the call was, filled out the paperwork, and as I was handing it in one of the casting staff, Daniel, says "write Bunchy on his sheet". I inquired as to who or what a Bunchy was, and he said that it was a featured extra part they were having difficulty casting. They said call backs would be the next week. I left feeling...hopeful.


A week went by and nothing. Then I got a call that I got the part, no try-out or anything. I was psyched. A few days later I went for a costume fitting (Daniel told me what kind of clothes to bring so the costume staff could pick what they liked-I decided to bring the hat I wear in the movie because this guy would wear a hat--the costume folks said yes--it's now my "lucky hat"). What happened next was a good indicator that I was going to have fun. When I tried to take my clothes, they said, "no, leave them, they'll be waiting in your trailer the day of shooting". Needless to say I was pretty excited when I left the "fitting".


Shooting day comes. I get off work early, and drive to Wendy's. Park in the extras parking lot, walk up to "base camp" and wait. While I'm waiting I glance over and wouldn't you know, but there is Haley Joel Osment. Just hanging out. chatting with folks. Someone gets around to asking me what I was doing there, I say, "I'm Bunchy...". Things start going a little faster now. I was showed to my "trailer" which was actually 1/6 th of a trailer, but was nicely appointed and freezing cold, which on the 84 degree September afternoon was a welcome discovery. Oh yeah, I had to wear "winter outfit". The movie is set in winter (basketball season) in Indiana. All I could think is, "I'm going to blow this because I'm going to be sweating bullets and the camera is going to see it and they are going to kick me off the set....". On the 84 degree day I wore a t-shirt, flannel shirt and a coat I have worn in below freezing temps (and stayed toasty in) during my scenes. Lucky for me, my sweat glands cooperated.


I was pretty nervous. We were walking around the set and someone introduced me to the producers. Very cool. I really felt welcomed.
My scene was the first, so we got to work rehearsing. Ken Mitchell (Keith) was so helpful. There is no way I would have pulled off the day without his guidance. In one part I grab him, spin him, and "jack him up" into the side of the van. After we practiced it once Ken said, "you have to do it harder, it has to look real...". Rusty, the director, gave me two lines--"action"-- and after I say them, I don't hear cut so I started ad-libbing, and Ken ad-libs back. It was awesome. I was really acting. It's all kind of a blur, but I think we did about 5-7 takes. I'm curious what, if anything, Rusty will keep. I was "involved " in two other scenes with Haley, Ryan (to whom I say "hey Matt, what's up...", or something) and Ken. Mainly just me moving from point to point as they did their thing. Then I sat around, alot. And then the 1st A.D., Tina, said "you're wrapped..." . I wanted to say thanks to Rusty, but he was heavily involved with Haley and Ryan. And I was back in a van back to base camp.


Now comes the fun part.(as if I hadn't had a total blast up to that point) I walk back to my ""trailer" and no sooner than I shut the door but I hear a knock, Tamra , a charming production asssistant, says, "you've been upgraded, fill out these papers and come find me...". I wasn't really sure what she was talking about, but I had a suspicion. Knowing a little about the business I knew that if they hear your voice in a movie, you are no longer an extra, and I was miked during my scenes at Wendy's. So I fill out the papers and Tamra says, "that was the easiest $blank you've ever made, huh"? (decorum prevents me from saying the amount) I about fell off my chair. I would have gladly done it for free and they were going to pay me. What a fantastic experience it was. I was invited to stay for "lunch"--7:30 in the evening and they are eating lunch, they shoot late into the night so a movie "day" is little different than ours. I said thanks but said if I hurried I could see my daughters before bedtime. I should have stayed, I probably would have got to talk with Haley and Ryan. I talked with Ken for a while, what a great guy!


I would like to thank all of the people (I apologize, I can't remember everyone's name) whom I came into contact with during my 6 hour movie experience. Without exception, all the folks involved were genuinely friendly, and bent over backwards to make it an enjoyable experience. In closing, I would like to offer a word of advice, if there is ever a casting call in your town, run, do not walk to the call....and check the box "will work for no money", because(wink)...you never know.

 

Thanks, John! It sounds like you had a great time on the set of Home of the Giants , and we really enjoyed sharing it with you ! We hope that all your scenes make it into the final cut of the film , and we will be cheering for you when we finally get to see you on the big screen !

 

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