Tom Rostkowski appears in his vintage costume for
the portrayal of a sign-shop owner in a movie production that was
shot near Galisteo. Watch for this movie to be released before the
end of 2008.
Can you spot Tom?
— JO ANNE FREDRIKSON
One day Marty Clifton of Placitas, who has done some horse wrangling
for western movie productions in New Mexico, called his friend Tom
Rostkowski and said, “They’re looking for Irish-type
railroad workers for a shoot up in Diablo Canyon. Why don’t
you check it out?” Tom thought, “Why not?” That
led the retired executive to his first role in “Into the West”
in 2004. Since then, he has appeared as an extra, or background
person, in twenty-seven productions that have been or are filming
in New Mexico. He has shared time with some of the industry’s
top movie stars, known as ‘principals’ in the biz. He
finds them to be delightful and accommodating people.
Look for Tom seated behind Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci ringside
in the fight scene in “Love Ranch,” unless that footage
ends up on the cutting room floor. Tom never knows what will make
it into the final release, and he has to pay to see himself in the
movies just like the rest of us. You won’t find his name in
the credits because he never has speaking parts. He doesn’t
have an agent. “Love Ranch,” a story about legalized
prostitution and the fabled Mustang Ranch in Nevada, is one of his
just-completed productions. He was one of eight-hundred-plus extras,
appearing in some of his own vintage 1970s clothing. The movie was
shot all over the local area—near San Ysidro, at Tingley Coliseum,
in warehouses and sound studios. He really appreciated the quality
of directing from Taylor Hackford, who is Mirren’s husband.
Tom recently appeared in a production directed by Ed Harris that
has to remain nameless for this story. Actors and background extras
must sign a release promising not to share the storyline or titles
before a movie opens to the public. Even with twenty-one days of
eight- to fourteen-hour-long days in production, Tom had a ball
on this one. The attached photo is from this movie, which will be
released before the end of 2008. It features him in period costuming
from a hundred years ago. He will appear as the town’s sign
shop owner. The location is a picturesque old movie set near Galisteo.
Tom predicts that sunrise and sunset scenes will be breathtaking.
Production techniques like having wind machines kick up dust, and
the expertise of the sound and lighting crews make being on the
sets interesting. This movie features big stars (principals)—Ed
Harris, Rene Zellweger, Vigo Mortensen, and Jeremy Irons. The best
part of this shoot was that the director took the time to give extras
like Tom important lessons on techniques for when and how to show
emotions that will strengthen the production, and the stars included
extras in ways not typical for most movie shoots. For instance,
the “background people” usually are transported from
one location to another separately from the “principals.”
But when Rene Zellweger’s van was loading up, she signaled
to Tom to jump in and ride with her.
Even his vintage cars sometimes make it into the movies. Antique
car restoration is another of Tom’s hobbies. His ’73
Corvette appeared in “Wild Hogs.” In that film, look
for Tom seated at a table in the restaurant scene, visible over
the left shoulder of Marissa Tome, and also next to her and William
H. Macey in the dance scene. Tom is the guy with the short-sleeve
pink striped shirt, wearing a western hat.
As a retiree with a background in telephone transmission engineering,
Tom had no aspirations to get into the movies. His former career
involved setting directions for future technological innovations
for phone systems in the Midwest, and developing cost analyses for
such systems. But now he does casting calls. About eighty percent
of his work comes from casting calls. Recently, he was one of hundreds
of people assembled at Casino Hollywood for a wait of up to three
hours, hoping to be selected. He calls them social events, with
a lot of light-hearted fun. He recognizes buddies in casting call
lines, and is able to identify those who really want more of a career
than just being a background extra. Out of eight hundred extras
in “Love Ranch,” only seven were given speaking roles.
For him, taking part in movies is interesting and good for his
mental and physical health. He relishes new experiences. He works
maybe four days per month. A lot of the time on the set is spent
in and out of wardrobe and makeup. Tom is a people-person who enjoys
stepping into character and being part of big Hollywood-type productions.
He really enjoys the technical expertise of the crews, and meets
lots of fascinating people. Admittedly, he gets a rush from seeing
himself on the big screen. He’s been part of shoots at Bonanza
Creek, Galisteo, Diablo Canyon, Tingley Coliseum, Costco, in tents
set up in an empty former grocery store, at train and bus stations,
and at Albuquerque Studios. He once surprised his wife Nancy by
coming home in full makeup as a zombie Union soldier. Obviously,
if the role is appropriate, Tom is likely to be chosen.
If you want to try your luck in the movies, check the website www.nmfilm.com
for times and locations of casting calls and relevant information.
Don’t expect to be paid much more than minimum wage, though.
Anticipate a lot a standing-around time if you are selected. It
can take up to six hours to shoot one scene. Tom’s recommendation
to young people: “Stay in school and get that education.”
Eli Schotte and Tatiana Marie Poling
Bob and Sandy Poling of Placitas are pleased to announce the marriage
of their daughter, Tatiana Marie Poling to Eli Schotte of Capetown,
South Africa. The couple was married on March 21, 2008, at Braamhoek
Farm, Eastern Free State, South Africa.
The bride was attended by her parents and the groom was attended
by his mother, Fiona Morris, and his brother, Leo Schotte. The groom’s
stepfather, Ritchie Morris, played the music for the wedding. The
couple plans to make their home in New Mexico and will arrive in