Last summer, the cast and crew of the Hulu original movie Merry Kiss Cam spent a lot of time filming in various locations throughout the Twin Ports. They also involved a lot of local businesses and a lot of us spent time working as extras in the movie.

I signed up to be an extra and then waited to see if I would get the call to join them for a day. Extras were paid $100 per day but truth be told, I would've done it free just for the experience.

I did ultimately get the call to be an extra and I was told to check-in near Fitger's Brewery Complex early one morning, and to bring several winter clothing options. Even though the temperature in Duluth that day was expected to be near 80 degrees, Merry Kiss Cam takes place in the winter and if they were going to have fake snow, we had to look the part.

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I was told to bring outdoor winter clothes like a warm jacket, hat, etc. I was also told that if I was a runner that I should bring gear that I'd wear to run in the cold. There were four specific filming locations I was a part of and each required a change of wardrobe:

  1. An outdoor Christmas market behind Fitger's. I was in full winter gear, including an elf hat they provided, as I pretended to be working my craft booth. They did several takes and it was very hot, especially in a parka, hat and gloves. The cast and crew were very friendly and they provided a lot of water and snacks, which helped. Lead actress Katie Lowes even approached me to compliment me on my hat.
  2. The Lakewalk for a running scene. I was told I was the "distance runner" for a scene that had several runners as well as people walking on the Lakewalk as the actors had a conversation. Dressed in my winter running gear, I waited to hear "action" and I knew when the runner 20 yards in front me started heading my way, I needed to run toward the actors and then make my way up the stairs behind Fitger's. We did this scene about 5 times.
  3. The Lakewalk walking and train scenes. After a handful of extras were sent home for the day, I was asked if I could stay. Of course I said yes and they had me wear the other winter jacket I brought and a baseball hat. These scene involved lead actors Jesse Bradford and Katie Lowes riding the North Shore Scenic Railroad and then another with Jesse and supporting actor Anglea Ko having a heated exchange in the middle of the Lakewalk. I was partnered with another extra and we all had to casually act as though were were just out enjoying a stroll while this action was going on. I did walk right by Jesse and Angela and he sounded desperate, so this must be a part of the movie when things aren't going great for him.
  4. Post hockey game scene in front of Fitger's. They had already filmed the hockey game scenes at the Duluth Heritage Center, but now they needed to film  a scene that took place just after the game. I was again given a new wardrobe, this time I was given Bulldog gear and I was partnered with a different extra. He and I, along with the remaining extras, would walk down the sidewalk acting like we were excitedly leaving the game the Bulldogs just won. Meanwhile, lead actors Jesse and Katie were having a nice chat on the sidewalk. We walked right past them and from what I heard, it seemed like they were wrapping up a date.

My one day of shooting ended up taking about 13 hours. Again, I didn't do it for the $100, but in doing the math I realized my 14 year-old son made more money per hour that day working at Dairy Queen then I did as an extra on Merry Kiss Cam. That's show business!

That being said, I'd do it again in a heartbeat and I look forward to seeing the finished product. I don't care if I can spot myself anywhere or not, it'll be fun just to see our local businesses and our community involved in a movie.

Mary June Turpin, who produced Merry Kiss Cam, shared the movie's trailer on her Facebook page. Take a look!

The movie will begin streaming on Hulu on November 24, and here's their description of the the romantic comedy:

When Jess and Danny go on a first date to a hockey game, their team scores a winning goal after their “kiss cam” smooch! Now, Jess and Danny must continue attending the games or risk the wrath of fans who believe their kisses are a good luck charm.

Hopefully, this is just the start of what will be many movies and productions filmed in the Twin Ports area!

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