In 1994, the makers of Four Weddings and a Funeral couldn’t afford to hire extras, so they called on Amber Rudd to rally people together to fill out the wedding scenes.
For a film which ended up grossing over $245m worldwide, Ms Rudd was asked to be the “aristocracy coordinator”, which entailed gathering people together to save money on hiring extras in the conventional sense.
Speaking at a Times Red Box fringe event at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, the now Home Secretary revealed that a “friend of a friend” asked her to arrange for people in “smart wedding outfits” to appear in the background during the wedding scenes of the classic comedy, which stars Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell.
She said: “We all have certain political hinterlands certainly and that was a particularly unusual proposal I got when I was on maternity leave at the time, it was 23 years ago.
“And a friend of a friend called up and said: ‘We’re making a small British film and we can’t afford to pay extras and what we need is some people in some smart wedding outfits hanging out at weddings’.
“I think I was about the fourth or fifth person they asked so I said: ‘How much will you pay these people?’ And bearing in mind this was 23 years ago, he said to me: ‘We’ll pay them £100 a day’. I said: ‘Well, no problem.’
“So it worked out that if you wanted to put on a smart frock or wedding outfit of some form and call a number, [I] could arrange for you to have 100 a day to hang out in the background of a small British film, that’s what I did.”
She added: “They made up that particular title [aristocracy coordinator] – not ideal for someone who went into politics, I have to say.”
Ms Rudd also said that when the film took off in the US, she had to bargain for herself and the extras to keep their seats at the UK premiere, describing it as her “first negotiation”.
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