Steven Spielberg Needs You!

July 17, 1997

The ads sing an irresistible siren song:

WANNA BE IN A MOVIE?

Well, who doesn't? And who wouldn't want to work for Steven Spielberg, Mr. Dreamworks himself, even if he were producing a remake of "Bedtime For Bonzo" instead of a rock-'em-sock-'em outer-space thrill er?

And then to be able to work on location not on faraway Martha's Vineyard, where Mr. Spielberg shot most of "Jaws," but right here on his own East Hampton summer stomping grounds?

Okay, so the pay won't get you too far along the road to your first million. It's only $75 a day for one or two days' work. But the hordes of wannabe-in-the-movies hopefuls expected to turn up at Guild Hall Sunday in response to the advertisements can be assumed to have other things on their minds.

Call For Extras

According to the "open call" for extras, Hollywood and Dreamworks SKG (Mr. Spielberg, a resident of West End Road, is the "S") are seeking as many as 200 all told for the film, provided they can work during the week of July 27. A spokeswoman for Grant Wilfley Casting, Debbie Sheridan, said people of all "ages, shapes, and sizes" were needed.

They will not need much in the way of costumes. In fact, the scenes to be made here sound pretty much like one big come-as-you-are party.

"Deep Impact" is the name of the film. According to advance publicity, it takes place in a small beach town whose residents are terrorized by news of an impending global catastrophe: an asteroid hurtling toward Earth.

Where is it predicted to land? Why, in the ocean of course, and you probably guessed which one. If the comet strikes, will the tiny town be washed away by a tidal wave from the deep?

Scene From "Jaws"

If all this sounds vaguely familiar, there's a reason: Mr. Spielberg is returning here to time-honored, proven territory. Who can forget the image of the great white shark in the opening scene of "Jaws," moving inexorably toward the blissfully swimming child?

It is not certain if children will be used in "Deep Impact," but they, too, have been encouraged to show up at Guild Hall between 1 and 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Mr. Spielberg comes to the futuristic "Deep Impact" and the Hamptons from out of the 19th century and Mystic, Conn., where he has been filming the soon-to-be-released "Amistad," based on a true story of mutiny aboard a slave ship.

Like "Jaws," which many believe to have been inspired by the exploits of Montauk's Capt. Frank Mundus, who wore a necklace of shark teeth and called himself "Monster Man," "Amistad" has local connections.

The slave ship put ashore, after a roundabout trip from Sierra Leone to Cuba and back north, off a Montauk beach. The film "Amistad" is due out in the fall.

"Deep Impact" marks a reunion for Mr. Spielberg, as executive producer, with Richard Z. Zanuck and David Brown, the producers. The team of Zanuck and Brown gave Mr. Spielberg his first two directing assignments; "Sugarland Express" was the first, followed a year later, in 1975, by "Jaws."

"Deep Impact" has some big-name stars, including Tea Leoni, Robert Duvall, Elijah Woods, Blair Underwood, Maximilian Schell, and Morgan Freeman. Mr. Schell and Ms. Leoni are slated to take part in the Hamptons scenes, but no one expects them to be around for the casting call. The film is expected to be on the screen by next summer.


With Reporting By Jonathan Steinberg