Posted: December 11, 2018
Jonathan Havird worked as an extra on season two of Mr. Mercedes and I got a chance to sit down with him and talk about what it means to be an extra in a TV show. Here is what he had to say.
Lilja: Tell me about yourself.
Jonathan Havird: I was born and raised in Lexington/Columbia, South Carolina. Growing up I’ve always been that “film buff” friend. Always wanting to see the newest movies hitting the theaters and scanning the isles at my local Blockbuster for something that would intrigue me. Not once did I think I would be around a filmset but look at what happened.
Lilja: How did you get involved with Mr. Mercedes?
Jonathan Havird: One night I was heading home with my fiancé and we approached some traffic. Noticing that filming was happening at a local hardware store my curiosity sparked. Later I found out it was Mr. Mercedes. At the time I had no clue what Mr. Mercedes was, but after Season 1 started airing I quickly became a fan and automatically was stuck on the show. I followed it closely with news that related to it and saw that it was renewed for Season 2. Shortly after that I found who oversaw the casting and submitted my information and a few pictures. The morning after I had an email waiting for me to respond, informing me that I was chosen for what turned out to be the arcade scene from episode 1 of Season 2.
Lilja: You are an extra, tell me a bit about what that means. What is a day in an extra’s life?
Jonathan Havird: Being an extra is exactly what it sounds like. You are what makes a scene look authentic. You are ‘Extra’ from the principle actors. An ‘Extra’ in a scene brings it to life whether it’s a busy street with cars and pedestrians or simply a restaurant with customers and staff. Once selected for that role you submitted for you will report to the designated address located within your email. Upon arriving you’ll check in and wait to go through hair/makeup and wardrobe. After that is said and done you will you assigned to a location on set that is designated for extras, called “extra’s holding’. Once you’re here you sit and wait with your fellow extras until you are called for your scene.
Lilja: You do several background characters in season 2. How come?
Jonathan Havird: When you’re an extra there are so many variables to how the camera catches you. You can either be really focused on or simply a blur in the background. When the camera doesn’t quite focus on you it enables you to be in other scenes that may or may not be related to what you are doing that day. I was blessed with the opportunity to approach a handful of different scenes because of that fact.
Lilja: Did you get to interact with any of the main characters?
Jonathan Havird: When you are an extra it’s inappropriate to approach a cast member on set simply because you are there to work and so are they. I never had to approach a cast member in that fashion to ‘Interact’ with them. The cast was very friendly and forthcoming when it came to communicating with everyone. For an example, Brendan Gleeson and I had a silly conversation in between takes the first day I was there. I was at the counter for the arcade scene and he leaned up against the counter. So jokingly I asked, “Mr. Gleeson would like one of the prizes within the counter or on the backwall?” He started laughing and carried on the conversation. It was always a fun environment to be in.
Lilja: Have you read the book the TV series based on before doing your scenes?
Jonathan Havird: No, I didn’t read it before doing my scenes. After working on set a few times I picked it up and started reading to see how parallel the story was compared to the book.
Lilja: Are you a fan of King’s books?
Jonathan Havird: Yes, I am. I have a few of his books and I’ve always been a fan of the movies based of his books. I believe the first movie I saw that was based of a Stephen King book was Pet Sematary. After watching that I started looking into more movies based of his books and that led me to IT and The Shining. Stephen King has always been my ‘go-to’ when it came to reading or watching something SCARY.