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Airmen land roles for 'The Bourne Ultimatum'

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Darrin Gabriel
  • Det. 4, 18th Intelligence Squadron
Many people join the Air Force to see the world, but not many expect to see stars.

Three Airmen of members of Det. 4 of the 18th Intelligence Squadron from Royal Air Force Feltwell, England, recently spent more than 10 days in London taking part in the upcoming movie, "The Bourne Ultimatum," starring Matt Damon.

Master Sgt. Brian Bailey, Tech. Sgt. Darrin Gabriel and Staff Sgt. Amber Godfrey responded to a request from a British casting company looking for Americans to play special roles in the third installment of the "Bourne" series.

"I just wanted to try something different," Sergeant Bailey said.

They were not cast as mere extras that simply blend into the film's scenery, but chosen to star as featured background artists who command significant camera time and plot importance. Sergeants Godfrey and Gabriel played agents while Sergeant Bailey played Bill Myer, a small parts worker.

"Our role was more than just standing in the background," Sergeant Godfrey said. "We actually received direction from the directors and stunt coordinators. Most of the action on our part involved running through the train station."

Sergeants Gabriel and Godfrey characters' jobs were to trail Matt Damon's character, Jason Bourne, in a cat and mouse game through London's Waterloo train station.
Instead of closing off the station to the public, director Paul Greengrass preferred to film the action amidst hundreds of daily commuters going about their business. While it added realism to the scene, it proved to be more of an obstacle for "Secret Agents" Gabriel and Godfrey.

Trailing a fleeing super assassin through an immense crowd is difficult enough, but add in the need to maintain proper distance, pace and to stay "in camera" against the flow of pedestrian traffic, proved a challenge in its own right. They resorted to shoving, cutting off and bumping to keep their queues and marks. Although the role was demanding physically, Sergeant Godfrey said the running wasn't the most difficult part.
"It was the standing around for hours waiting for the directors to reset the scene and call action for how ever many takes it took to get one scene perfect," Sergeant Godfrey said.

Sergeant Bailey did his filming in the controlled environment of Pinewood Studios near London. His character had several scenes with actors Joan Allen and David Strathairn as they attempted to track and catch Matt Damon. Much of the background choreography was ad-libbed, so Sergeant Bailey was free to use his imagination to make the operations center come alive with activity.

"I thought it would be a lot more structured, but the director, Paul Greengrass, gave us a lot of leeway with our parts," Sergeant Bailey said. "Being in the military, I am used to a lot of structure, and it wasn't like that at all."

The actors and crew know little of the movie plot and are given vague scene synopsis in order to keep the story line confidential. Even the main actors must wait until the movie is released in August to see what their characters are really up to.

"It was something that you can say you have experienced once in your lifetime," Sergeant Bailey said. "Also, hanging out with David Strathairn, Paul Greengrass, Corey Johnson and Joan Allen was very exciting. It also was nice to just see these actors and actresses as everyday people, just like myself."

Sergeants Bailey, Gabriel and Godfrey said even if their scenes end up on the cutting room floor, the experience of participating in the making of a movie like the "The Bourne Ultimatum" will never be matched.

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