My Life as a German Movie Star

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Shortly after arriving in Ao Nang, Krabi, I met up with Backpacking Matt and Cody of Thrilling Heroics, pictured with me above.  Cody, having lived in southern Thailand for a number of months, awesomely offered to show us a good time.

Starting with an offer to be an extra in a German movie called Tourist in Danger.

Would we be interested?

Would we EVER!

At 3:00 PM, we were herded down to the set, where we expected to be for the next twelve hours.

Above: the stars of the movie!  Do any of my German readers know who they are?

The film takes place at the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan, an island on the other side of the peninsula. (I just hope they didn’t get the actual half moon in any shots.)

Our first scene: releasing lanterns.

Matt and I were paired up with Hannes and Vanessa, both from Sweden, and over and over again, we set off the lanterns into the night sky.  It was a beautiful scene, and I will never tire of seeing those lanterns fly into the air.

If it weren’t for the Germans yelling “LIGHT THE BALLOOOOOONS!” over and over, it would have been positively magical.

Then they filmed a few scenes on top of the lanterns.  One of the assistant directors grabbed me and my friend Hannes.  “You’re going to be a romantic couple.  Drunk but not too drunk, you will walk hand in hand, then gaze at the sea.”  Aww.  The scene went well with three takes.

Next, we were ready to shoot scenes inside the bar.

The assistant director came up to me.  “You…I would like to see dancing on the beach in the next scene.”


“YES!” I yelped.  “OF COURSE!”

I got placed in the dancing group and positioned in the front of the frame.

Then I was hit with a sick terror:

More than fish, more than birds, more than crashing a motorcycle, my greatest fear is dancing in public.

Not all dancing — I love dancing.  I’m fine if it’s choreographed.  Or if it’s intentionally goofy.  Or if I’ve been drinking.  Or if it’s in the middle of a group.

But improvised, sober, good-looking, spotlighted dancing?  A NIGHTMARE.

Luckily, I wasn’t the only nervous one.  The other girls cast as dancers felt the same way and were freaking about how the crew wouldn’t let us have a few drinks to relax.

But you know what?

The cameras came on…and though I was terrified, I transformed. It wasn’t about my fear anymore.  It was about being in a movie! The dance music played for ten seconds to get us in the rhythm, then stopped and we danced in silence.

Dancing fear? I think it’s out the window now!  IS SOUL TRAIN STILL ON?!

Dance scene after dance scene filmed.  It began to downpour, and, in a completely makeshift move, the crew had to cover the entire building with tarps.  Not exactly high-budget, this movie.

Soon it was 3:00 AM and we were still shooting dance scenes.  By then, everyone was absolutely delirious from fatigue and boredom and dancing nonstop.  We started singing and giggling to get through the scenes enthusiastically.

“People,” one of the assistant directors announced, “I know it’s very hard, but please do not sing while you dance.  We need to record the dialogue.  We’re making a movie.”

Matt: “A bad movie.”

(In case you’re wondering, yes, the extras talk about how bad the movie they’re filming is going to be.)

Despite that admonition, that didn’t stop one hilarious Thai guy from singing the most random songs while we danced in every take, from Akon to Snoop Dogg – once, he even broke out into Mambo Number Five, a huge goofy grin on his face!  By the time that happened, we were so delirious that everything suddenly became much funnier, and we were dying with laughter while flailing around to the lack of music.

The dancing in that scene is going to look TERRIBLE. I’m telling you now.

Finally, we were released a bit after 3:00 AM.  Exhausted, we collected our 1500 baht ($50) for a day’s work and hopped on the sawngtaew home.

And while there was nothing I wanted to do more than go to bed, I was a movie star in Thailand.  Movie stars in Thailand don’t go to bed. They drink a bucket of Red Bull.

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46 thoughts on “My Life as a German Movie Star”

  1. What an amazing story! That is so random, and so freaking awesome. Do you know what the title of the movie will be? I’m wondering if you were standing next to a mega German movie star or if it was a D list actress 🙂 Either way, who cares? You’re a movie star!!

  2. Kate, I never cease to be amazed (and highly amused) at all the random stuff you stumble upon when traveling! You certainly do live up to your “Adventurous” title!

    Though it sounds like it was a long day, I’m willing to bet you’ll never forget your day as a movie star in Thailand! Awesome post.

  3. That’s awesome! Sounds WAY more entertaining than when I was an extra in “We Are Marshall” in Atlanta. Don’t you love the “you, I need you to do this”?

  4. I thought being an extra in a movie would be so glamorus…. Still would love to do it though! Do you know if it will be released worldwide or will they send you a free copy of your “awesome” dancing?

  5. Kate, that’s awesome – what a cool experience. Being in a movie AND getting paid for it! I (Dani) am German and I know our movie ‘stars’, but I don’t recognize anyone in the photo… I am still getting updates on new German movies in my email and as soon as I hear anything about that movie being released, I will send you the link to the trailer 🙂 Enjoy Cambodia!

  6. OK, I used to cover the red carpet circuit in New York so I’ve met, literally, thousands of celebrities, but at the top of my bucket list has ALWAYS been “be an extra in a film.” Not to meet stars, just to experience the energy on set. I’m so freakin’ jealous you got to live my dream! Also, well done you =)

  7. Hi Kate,

    I have never seen these ‘Stars’ before, never heard of the movie either…. But I think you all had a lot of fun – so what! Dont forget to eat some Kaspressknödel and Kaiserschmarrn while staying in Tirol!!

    Have fun!

  8. I’m about 2 years too late with this comment [finger on the pulse, ha!] but having grown up in Germany I think we can categorically rule out the actors in *your* movie being anything BUT Z list. What a way to spend a day though!!!??? ^_^

    1. I was laughing my ass off as I read about your movie experience in another post. I´ll always try to read some of your posts on my freedays…

      I have to give you credit though, you´ve been a part of the german TV industry. That film was never in the movies and we all (experiecned SEA travellers) were laughng our asses up when we were stumbling over it on screen. The story is ridiculous, it lacks logic but the places were nice and kept us dreaming 🙂

      I do know that blonde chick from some soap, the guy from a criminalistic story telling background but even I could not make out their names without googling. And I do work party in that industry. 😉

      But as I was googling – this was the first thing that came up: They are producing a series on that it´s not a movie…! I saw spoilers these weeks and it should be airing these days…

      there have been other movies here were people went diving in chiang mai on a day trip. the divespots and boats were clearly similan style *lol* sad to say, that those movies were made by our own public tv stations which are paid not by money through ads but through a bill every household in germany has to pay to serve good distribution of the first/second and third channels. all channels beyond that are purely private financed stations – but the productions are even worse.

      you´ve earned money, at least that´s something. if I can, I´ll try to spot up a clip on youtube 🙂

  9. German here, but I sadly don’t recognize the stars 😀
    That must have been a really cool experience, no matter the quality of the end product. Congrats!

  10. This is the TV series.. It was no movie, but a whole season for RTL, a german TV station..
    Every episode was in another asian country.

    Here is the Trailer:

    The whole show was not very good, and most episodes especially bad.
    The Laos one was quite okay, but the other really bad.

    The market share was 7% in the end and they canceled it.

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