10 Chilling Horror Stories From Real Hollywood Extras

For generations, people have come to L.A. with stars in their eyes and dreams in their hearts of making it big on the silver screen. Of course, very few actually do, and many end up working as an extra actor while they try. Whether it’s for a movie, music video, or television show, it isn't hard to get cast as "background talent" in Hollywood.

Being an extra might require long, exhausting days on a boring set, without any guarantee that your face, or even an elbow, will make it on camera. Still, many people aren’t quick to complain: You can sit around, spy on the actors, eat free snacks, and bank a day rate without the commitment
of a 9-to-5 job. Translation: It's perfect for the aspiring set. So it can’t be all that bad, can it?

Throughout the history of movie-making, some pretty messed-up things have happened to people who worked as background actors. On the set of Titanic, several extras were injured during the famous sinking scene. In the movie Blade, there’s a scene where a bloodbath rains from the ceiling in a club. Many of the extras endured rashes and infections due to the fake blood being recycled and used over and over again. But those stories are just two out of hundreds.

The following 10 tales are from extras who suffered hellish experiences while working on set. These aspiring actors have had to bear witness to celebrity tantrums, watch other extras act like fools, and endure long, torturous hours of dry humping. Click through if you dare!
1 of 10
Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
The Dramatic Clown
"I was an extra in this really big action scene; it was depicting a huge car accident, and everyone was supposed to be dead except for the lead actor. Now, you'll learn as an extra that there’s always one person who tries to milk a scene for all it's worth. We start shooting, and everyone drops to the ground, playing dead like we were told, except for this one guy. He starts acting out his death really slow, in this slapstick-comedy sort of way — hand over the heart, dying in a painful and loud way, except he’s serious! The director yells cut, and everyone is pissed because we have to reshoot this really elaborate action scene again. Then he did it again."
— Robin, 25
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2 of 10
Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
All Wrapped Up
"I was an extra on one of the murder-mystery-type cop shows. You know the kind, a string of girls all get murdered, then they find the guy because of a hair they analyze in a lab. While I was working, they asked if I wanted to be featured. I was like, 'Hell, yes!' They had me fill out some form and asked if I would be comfortable holding my breath during takes. I said yes, so they said I'd be playing a dead nurse and I would need to change into something slightly revealing. They asked if I was okay with that, and I said I was. I mean, it was a basic cable show. It's not like I'd be naked on TV!

"I headed to a little trailer. This is where I was handed a nude thong and was asked to change in a little area. I emerged, breasts in hands. Then two people walked up to me with plastic wrap and began to plastic wrap a tube top and miniskirt. I was handed a robe that looked like it was stolen from a hotel and some flip-flops and taken to a pop-up tent with tarp walls, where two other girls, also basically undressed like me, were huddled around a space heater. They took away the robes, and we were covered in fake blood. We weren’t allowed to sit after that, because we’d mess up the makeup, so we stood for about three hours with towels around us while they fixed a lighting problem.

"When we shot, we got to lie around in a bunch of debris. I was in one of the shots as they were talking, so I had to hold my breath for quite a long time during each take. When the show came out, you couldn't even see me."
— Jessica, 24
3 of 10
Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
Eternal Dry Humper
"I was filming a music video, and the scene was supposed to be super sexually charged. But first, they dressed us in these skimpy, provocative, futuristic outfits made out of latex. (Side note: It was a nightmare to have to use the bathroom wearing those things.) Then they asked all of us what gender we are attracted to and paired us up with our 'partner' for the day. We are ordered to basically make out and dry hump them. Even though I was paired up with a hot guy, it ended up being 18 hours (yes, 18 hours!) of fake making out and dry humping. Imagine hours and hours of having to pretend to be having sex while wearing sweaty latex. What’s even worse is having to hear the same 10-second excerpt of the song looping over and over and over the entire time."
— Anna, 25
4 of 10
Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
Makeup Massacre
"I was working on a commercial where the newest face of the brand was a very famous, award-winning actress. When she got to set, she ignored everyone around her and immediately began fighting with the producer. She was screaming like crazy and having a tantrum. To make things even more awkward and crazy, she started chucking makeup at the door that the producer was standing near. All these packages of eyeshadow and foundation were getting thrown, breaking, and spilling all over the place. Tons and tons of product were destroyed. It was insane! Whenever I see her in a movie now, my mind goes back to that moment when all that makeup went flying."
— Kelly, 27
5 of 10
Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
Right In The Eye
"I was an extra in a high school movie, and there was a prank scene where the sprinklers went off on a bunch of extras. We were told it would be some sort of color (that was the prank), but when they shot it, the sprinklers sprayed paint. Everyone started freaking out, and I was shoved to the ground by another extra, which caused the sprinklers to shoot right in my face. I was taken to a set nurse and given eye drops, but when I took my contacts out, they were stained the color I was sprayed with."
— Andrea, 28
6 of 10
Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
The Meltdown
"I was cast as an extra in a movie with a friend. The lead actor has been famous for a long time, so they made us do something I had never done: sign an agreement saying that we could not discuss religion on the set at all, and we would not make eye contact with the lead actor. At first I thought it was weird, but due to his reputation, I decided it wasn’t that surprising. When we get ready to film, the lead actor gets on the set and starts having a full-on breakdown. He’s pulling at his shirt, saying that it was choking him and he can’t breathe. Then he rips off his shirt and runs off the set. The crew immediately puts all of us extras in the holding room, and a full eight hours later, we get an announcement that says the lead actor is sorry for what happened and wanted to treat everyone to Starbucks to make up for it."
— Des, 32
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7 of 10
Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
A Serious Caffeine Addiction
"I was on set for a film that starred a television actress who was trying to break into movies. We were filming on location in a small town in an impoverished country. One day, the actress asks for coffee, so the production assistant gets it from the caterer and brings it to her. The actress looks at her like, 'What the fuck is this?' She then asks if she can have coffee from a café instead. Again, we are filming in an area where there is nothing like that! I was thinking, You won’t be able to get an espresso anywhere around here. The P.A. returns from whatever café she found and has coffee, but it’s in one of those red plastic cups. The actress again says, 'What the fuck is this?' and throws it on the ground. She then starts screaming, 'I need someone to go to a café. Is there not a Starbucks around here?' I couldn’t believe what an idiot she was."
— Jess, 26
8 of 10
Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
Asshole Actor
"I was playing a sort of 'slave girl' in this fantasy television show with three other women. They had us dressed in barely any clothing — it was pretty much a tiny bikini and chains that we were supposed to be tied up in. The lead character in the show was played by this really hot actor. One of the girls was very starstruck or turned on (or both!) by this guy. She didn’t seem aware of how obvious she was about it either — she was just staring at him the entire time. The actor caught on and started talking to her, but little did she know he had decided then and there to mess with her. He starts chatting with her and asks if she would want to be in his character’s courtship, where she would have the chance of being a featured extra. She looked back at us like, 'Haha, bitches!' and went off to be dressed in new wardrobe.

"When she gets back, the actor asks her to dance for him. She obviously doesn’t care or even realize how desperate she looks and starts dancing all sexy. I was surprised she didn’t just give him a lap dance. At this point, it’s super weird and awkward. He goes, 'All right, that looks good. Now go walk out this door so I can watch you.' Again, she obliges and he yells out something I won’t say (a disgusting way of saying he was getting turned on).

"I was so completely grossed out at this pig, but the girl didn’t seem to care! Or at least if she was offended, she didn’t show it. She was just smiling and telling the rest of us how excited she was to have gotten a better role."
— Christina, 26
9 of 10
Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
Lesson Learned
"I got a gig playing a dancer in a nightclub scene, and I was really excited because this was my first job on a big movie. That morning before the shoot, I thought I should eat something hearty since I’d be up on my feet and dancing all day, so I scarfed down a breakfast burrito from the restaurant across from my apartment. That was a huge mistake. While [I was] driving over, my stomach started getting these waves of cramps and I was burping out the nasty stench of digested burrito.

"When I got to the set, my stomach was rumbling, so I ran to the bathroom and it was not pretty. I soon realized I had gotten food poisoning. I was sweating like crazy, experiencing the worst stomach pain, and at that point I didn’t know what the hell to do. After three trips to the bathroom to poop my brains out, and one frightening act of Exorcist-level vomiting, I knew that I had to leave. After that, I learned my lesson — to have a light breakfast and bring stuff to snack on. It was so embarrassing! Needless to say, I boycotted my neighborhood burrito stand after that!"
— Erin, 29
10 of 10
Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
The Bitch In Sheep’s Clothing
"A music video for one of my favorite singers was putting a call out for extras, and so I submitted myself. I’d never done any background acting on a video before, and I was such a fan, so I was excited! The call time was at dawn, so I was already completely exhausted, but still looking forward to seeing one of my idols in person. She had the reputation of being extremely nice, especially to her fans, so I figured this was going to be an awesome experience.

"But when she got to the set, she had the biggest bitch face ever. She wouldn’t look anyone in the eye, let alone say hello like a decent human being. I just couldn’t believe how she seemed to be. At one point, we all could hear her whining and complaining about something to do with her outfit and treating the stylist like crap. I understand that everyone, even celebs, can have tough days, but that experience poisoned me as a fan. Now every time I hear a story about her doing some sort of charity or 'good deed' for one of her fans, I roll my eyes."
— Beth, 25
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