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"I would do it all again in a heartbeat" - my experience on the set of Home of the Giants

Written by Hayley Carter

All pictures © 2007 by Hayley Carter

First published 21st August 2007

An original article for


I am a University of North Carolina at Greensboro student majoring in English literature. I am currently a senior, yet at the time of the filming of Home of the Giants I was only a sophomore.

One weekend in the fall of 2005 I heard a rumor about a celebrity walking around my campus. I am always enthusiastic about a potential celebrity spotting . A friend had supposedly seen Oscar nominee Haley Joel Osment sitting outside on our gym steps.
I wanted to check things out for myself so I walked over to the gym where I was greeted by two members of a film crew. They were recruiting extras for a few scenes in a movie being filmed in the Greensboro area and I was more than excited about joining in on the action. It is a rare occurrence at my school, but the rumor turned out to be true! Our gym had been completely transformed into a movie set, something that I had always wanted to see in person.

The Gym at the University of North Carolina, transformed into a huge film set! That's Haley Joel Osment walking right across the basketball court, with Ryan Merriman running towards the camera with a basketball, and director Rusty Gorman in the foreground with a headset around his neck.

The crew didn't really need me right away. Other extras were lounging around and watching the live shoots as well. After a while I got hungry and made my way over to a food table. Apparently it was only for the actors. I got scolded for this later, but not before I could make a complete fool of myself in front of Haley Joel Osment. He walked up to the table and I had never really met a celebrity before, so I got uncontrollably nervous. I greeted him with, "Hhey! (I spastically shake his hand) My name is Hayley too except for I spell my name with two y's!".What a nerdy move. He was kind enough not to roll his eyes and walk away!

Finally, the crew called all of the extras up to the box office of our gym. As mentioned before, it was sometime in mid fall, yet the director told us to get winter clothes for a scene if we could. I ran back to my dorm which is directly across from the gym and grabbed a coat and scarf as quickly as possible. It wasn't exactly scarf weather, so I broke out in a sweat - very attractive for one's first film appearance! The scene was short and simply involved walking past the box office pretending to be a huge Giant's fan.

I did a little bit of lighting as a stand in for Danielle Panabaker as well. Which made me feel like a semi celebrity. It is a scene where Danielle Panabaker is standing on a balcony watching the basketball game.

Hayley Carter standing in for Danielle Panabaker for lighting . Notice the soapbox she was made to stand on, carefully concealed by a banner...

Later on a bunch of people were playing basketball between shootings and I fearlessly joined in. I took some pretty easy shots hoping I could get at least one it. But every single shot was without a doubt an air ball! Ryan Merriman and Haley had obviously been practicing. I however had lost the magic touch sometime back in the fifth grade.

Matt Dubuque as Giants Assistant Coach, on the bleachers

Before the end of the weekend, I was in three different scenes with several other extras. That same day I was in a short transition scene in which I walked by a bake sale table holding the hand of a random three year old. I had no idea who the child was, but he needed assistance, so I helped him walk by the camera. I'm sure it will look as though I am the little kid's mother or something. After an exhausting first day meandering around the film set it was time to head back over to my dorm.

The next night I found myself at a house in Greensboro completely swarming with the film crew. Here at this hull of a house, I was stationed on the stairwell where I was supposed to be an inebriated high schooler. Complete with a red Solo cup (filled with Diet Coke) I leaned over the railing and acted like a crazed lunatic as the speaking actresses passed behind me. I'm sure that doesn't make me a good role model for my three year old bake sale companion!

Hayley Carter pictured with Home of the Giants' Director of Photography, Rodney Taylor

Haley Joel Osment was intriguingly intelligent and well composed. He seemed like a good person to discuss edgy American authors with. I could see that he is just as compelling in person as he is on the big screen after only speaking with him once. Ryan Merriman was absolutely crazy and extremely energetic. And Daniella Panabaker was very sweet.

Hayley Carter and actor Ryan Merriman

One of the best parts of my experience though, was hearing Haley play a Radiohead song on a piano he found near a set. They are definitely one of my favorite bands and I was completely impressed! As for the experience as a whole, I would do it all again in a heart beat. It was an amazing opportunity that I would gladly do every day if I could! But it was back to school the very next Monday.


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You guys have to see HOME OF THE GIANTS!!! It's a must ! You really have to!

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