‘Looking’ for a Real-Life Couple

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[dropcap background=”yes” color=”#333333″ size=”50px”]I[/dropcap]t’s really no secret that the cast and crew of Looking, that one show, overtook Dolores Park — San Francisco’s iconic gay beach manshelf — for a two-day shoot late last year. What most of my friends don’t know, even though I wrote a column about it (turns out my friends don’t read my column), is that I was a “featured” extra on-set for that shoot. Denys and I were two of “Dom’s friends,” Murray Bartlett’s character had many friends at the park that day.

As per ush, Dolores counted with 200 people and its familiar mix of hipsters, college students, people in work-out clothes, hippie/druggie/musician types and homeless people. At least that’s how the batch of extras were categorized upon arrival at the park. As for Denys and I, we had gotten a costume fitting the week prior. Flawless! Except no Vivienne Westwood gay daydream fantasies for me. We were told to bring our own clothes. “Our own clothes!” I protested. Like, what we buy at Target?

Fantasy

Reality

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The video above is not at all what our costume fitting was like. First clue that this show would not be a “gay Sex & City.” And here I thought the point of TV was to glamorize the fuck out of everything.

When we arrived at Dolores Park, we were quickly escorted to a nearby church where we tried on more clothes. Imagine that conversation? “Can we rent out your church to act as homebase for production of a gay show on HBO?”

We also talked to the rather attractive group of Screen Actors Guild members we befriended while waiting for our close-ups.

“Wait, so you’re like a real couple?” They asked. “Yup, just two real-life people, giving a breath of authentic air to the show.” To say that all the people, props and scenery that early at Dolores Park were fake would be an understatement. They almost brought in the pigeons. However, the recreation felt rather real. Denys and I at times would turn around our assigned seats and marvel at the scene, just the right Dolores Day atmosphere except for the no drinking or drugs…

Oh, just the most perfect morning at Dolores Park.

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To shoot a TV show.

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Second day a little too foggy? No worries, we’ll set up the sun.

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Let a sunny afternoon at Dolores Park begin! After 8 hours on-set, however, it all started feeling a little like The Truman Show.

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And we weren’t the only two brought onboard to give the show a feel of authenticity. A production staffer spotted Truffles Dude walking among the background, wondering why the hell there were so many people at Dolores that early in the morning. HBO made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: a walk-on role on Looking. Playing himself. Selling chocolate truffles to Frankie J. Alvarez’s character. Action! The rest of us were simply told to “act normal,” which can be difficult for some of us who are more self-aware.

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There’s Russell Tovey on the left. And Jonathan Groff dancing like a little fairy below.

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And everyone at Dolores Park watching him. Awkward.

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What can I say about the plot of this particular episode? One word: dra-mah.

Oscar Raymundo
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  • HBO's 'Looking' Set to Splash Russian River
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    […] local casting agency that helped the producers fill up Dolores Park last year with “hipsters, college students, people in work-out clothes, hippie/druggie/musician types […]

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