It may seem a land far, far away, especially during rush hour, but Studio City is this week a gateway to a whole other galaxy. Until August 13, residents are being encouraged to boldly go where no man has gone before – or ‘Soundstage Building B’ out the back, as it is officially known – and audition for the new Star Trek movie which will be shot in the UAE later this year.
We sent our very own Klingons – ok, ‘reporters’ – along to try out.
With phasers set to stun anyone who stands in our way, we follow the ‘Extras’ sign to a giant holding room. And there were we thinking we’d at least get a tour of the Enterprise.
The queue here is surprisingly short, and we join the back in good spirits. But half an hour on we’ve moved at anything but warp speed. The support team – disappointingly not dressed in Starfleet uniform – keep everyone hydrated and insist we’ll all be seen. Even the guy who’d arrived in a Star Wars t-shirt.
Excitement is piqued when we turn the corner to see the ‘Casting’ sign high above a door. It wanes again when we see the same length queue as the one we’ve just got through, but is reignited as word passes down the line that they are looking for more than 1,000 extras.
Tablets are passed down the line on which we fill in our details and answer a short questionnaire about ourselves (nothing too prying, just general questions about interests, languages spoken and special skills). We decide to tick the box marked ‘basic French’, hoping it might give us an advantage, but omit the fact we last spoke it in school.
After another half hour – spent mentally brainstorming cool and casual, yet memorable and definitely unrehearsed answers to a selection of questions like 'why do you want to be an extra’, and 'tell us something interesting about yourself' – it’s our turn to be seen. Almost.
We hand our ID to someone behind a desk, she checks our information from the tablet and directs us to another holding room. It's now more than three hours since we arrived and we’re in danger of slipping into hyper-sleep. Beam us up, Scotty. Please.
When our names are finally called, we’re given a whiteboard listing our contact details and led into yet another room to be photographed several times. From there it’s on again, ushered quickly to the next room where all aspects of our body are measured, right down to hand circumference and finger sizes. Resistance to any of it is futile.
And that's it. It's over in less than five minutes and we're on our way without an inclination as to long before we’re informed of any decision. We can only assume they’ll be hailing on all frequencies, it’s the only way.