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31 July 2006
Behind the scenes at "Broken Bridges"

Fan Club Member Gina Ramsey heard the call when we announced that Toby's film, "Broken Bridges" was looking for a few extras.  She shares her story below, and her photos in the GALLERY.
“Undercover” on the Angel Movie Set
By Gina Ramsey


My “undercover adventure” began in early September when I first heard the rumor that Toby’s movie might be filmed in Georgia. I was certain that it would be in the metro Atlanta area and I began my internet quest for information. In a couple of weeks I found myself on the phone with Patrick Ingram, the casting director in charge of extras. It wasn’t an accident - it was the result of many emails and phone calls. All I really wanted was information about the filming locations and dates, and here I was being asked if I was interested in being an extra! All I had to do was send a recent photo and my specs, and I was careful not to let on in my emails that I was a “Toby fan.” I didn’t want him to think that I wouldn’t take my job seriously. Patrick told me he could use me beginning October 12! I had only dared to dream of a day or two on the set with Toby but it turned into 11 days in total - 2 days watching and 9 days as a paid extra!

Luckily my boss was very understanding and knew how exciting this was for me. I was fortunate enough to be used as a stand-in one day and as an extra for 8 days. I was “background action” in a total of 13 scenes, and my Jeep was even used in 5 scenes! Hopefully I will make the cut in at least one scene, and my mother hopes that it is not the scene in which I am drinking and pouring beer all day long in the Southern Comfort Bar! I got to watch many more scenes up close and personal, and the whole experience of seeing all the behind-the-scenes magic transpire was amazing.

Since it would take many pages to go into detail about all the scenes I was involved in, I am only going to write about my three favorite scenes. The first was the post-funeral scene which took place on the side porch of the Delton Inn, the Veranda Bed and Breakfast in Senoia, Georgia. My first impression of Toby that day was unassuming. He came on the set and immediately introduced himself to all the extras. I thought it was refreshing that he did not take for granted that everyone knew who he was. Toby, along with Scotty Emerick, Josh and Joey from the Easy Money Band, Randy Scruggs (the son of Earl Scruggs), and Lindsey Haun (Toby’s daughter, Dixie, in the movie) rehearsed for about an hour which was very enjoyable in itself. The actual filming of this scene, in which family and friends enjoy the bluegrass music, sweet tea and pecan pie on the porch, took about 2 hours. It was 3 hours of total musical bliss for me. I actually spilled my iced tea on my new black funeral dress I got so carried away!

The script was very true to Southern tradition where everybody gathers together to eat and celebrate the life of the deceased after the burial. We were told to appear to be enjoying the food, good music, and fellowship while at the same time to look contemplative and not too cheerful. I was seated beside Scotty and Lindsey (Dixie) and across from Toby, and I would have decked anyone who tried to remove me from that seat! During the scene, Bo and Clyde “have words” and Toby is standing about a foot from my chair (beside Clyde.) I think he did a great job in this scene and truly appeared angry. I hope I get to see the expression on my face when I was looking up at him, not having to “act” surprised at all.

My favorite line from this scene which was mostly music, was Jerome (boy who has a crush on Dixie) speaking to Scotty about Dixie, “She has her own baa-aand!” He had his Southern accent down, thanks to the dialect coach who helped the actors get their Montgomery County, Tennessee hills accent just right. I was fascinated listening to the tips he gave them.

I was sorry to see it end, but the “boys” kept right on going even after “checking the gates!” (This is what the director says when he thinks he has what he wants on film but wants to check and make sure. The crew would say “chicken eight” joking around. Once there was an eyelash on the film and everyone had to go through a portion of the scene yet one more time!) The music just seemed to pour from them and they were in their element, gliding easily from Charlie Daniels, to “Cat Scratch Fever“, to “Mama Tried,” to some memorable and “off-color” bus songs! Even the people on the set who weren’t familiar with the music were enjoying this rare treat.

My second favorite scene was the military burial of Bobby Delton, Angela’s brother, filmed at Atlanta’s historic Oakland Cemetery. The setting was beautiful with centuries-old headstones, stately magnolias, and lovely brick walkways. It was very easy to appear grief-stricken with 14 male and female soldiers from Fort Benning, Georgia performing the military rituals: the folding of the flag and the presentation to Dixie Rose, the playing of Taps on the bugle, and the 21-gun salute. Some of the extras were actually crying because it was so moving.

Toby broke the somber mood when the assistant director, Van Hayden, handed out green earplugs to use during the 21-gun salute. The make-up ladies were working their way around covering up the green earplugs with makeup, when suddenly Toby yelled out “Hey, mine don’t fit!” Everyone looked up to see a grinning Toby Keith with the bright green earplugs in his nose! He might not appreciate me telling this, but it was hilarious, and I would have given anything to have a picture of this priceless moment. I am telling this solely to illustrate Toby’s sense of humor and good nature. Toby, being the “manly man” that he is, ended up not using the earplugs at all. Well, not in his ears anyway!

Actually seeing Toby with the troops after the shoot was over was even more touching to me than the burial scene. He took the time to talk to friends and family members on the soldiers’ cell phones and had his picture taken with each and every one. Then Mitch ran to get his backpack so that Toby could give out the coins that he has made up for the troops with his name and the year thanking them for their service to our country. One of the guys told me that this was a great honor and was actually a military tradition showing respect. He said he wouldn’t take any amount of money for this coin. They were so excited to meet Toby and they weren’t disappointed with the man and his genuine appreciation for their courage and commitment.

My third favorite scene was the bar scene filmed at the Southern Comfort Bar in Conley, Georgia. This was truly a great setting for the “red-neck country bar” in the script. Katie Finneran (Patsi,) Steve Coulter (Johnny,) Ron Clinton Smith (Clyde,) Bart Hansard (Travis,) and Rhoda Griffs (Ida Lee) all performed their parts “to a tee” in this scene. The scene included Bo trying to fend off Patsi’s unwanted advances, being called up on stage by Scotty to sing against his wishes, and fighting with Clyde! I guess it was actually three scenes in one location. Mitch, Toby’s assistant, was the bartender “Jimbo” and Chris, Toby’s bus driver, was used as an extra also.

The highlight of the action-packed day was Toby, Scotty and the Easy Money Band performing “Jackie Don Tucker” to the delight of the crowd at the Southern Comfort. I think I was the only bar patron who sang along with every word of the song! One of the funniest lines was when Bo questions if the band knows the song, and Scotty asks him, “Is a pig’s ass pork?” We also enjoyed hearing half of Scotty‘s “What’s Up With That?” over and over. I hope it will be on the soundtrack so I can hear all of it! There was another scene filmed outside of the bar, but I wasn’t used in that one, and since it was Halloween I went home for Trick-or-Treating

I would like to thank the crew, Steven Goldmann, Van Hayden, Cherie Bennett, Jeff Gottesfeld, Burt Reynolds, Lindsey Haun (and her mom), Anna Maria Horsford, Katie Finneran, Steve Coulter, Bart Hansard, Chris Troup, Mitch, TK, Jason, Patrick Ingram, Deuce, Wade and April (stand-ins), Don and Gail Downs, and all my fellow extras for making my time on the Angel set an enjoyable and informative experience I will never forget. (Sounds like my Oscar acceptance speech.) They were all very kind to me even when I was asking one question after another.

I would like to say here that I was somewhat afraid of having “my bubble burst” concerning Toby, but I can honestly say that I never saw or heard one thing in 11 days that changed my opinion of him. If anything, I left with a better appreciation of him and his many talents. I never saw Toby frown a single time when asked for an autograph or a picture. He even thanked me once when I took a picture of him! He was very kind to everyone, even the “lowly extras,” and I would like to thank him for being the person that I already suspected he was. I believe that everyone involved in this project left with nothing but positive things to say about Toby. To quote Cherie Bennett, co-writer, “Toby Keith is a lovely, lovely man - inside and out.”
In the beginning I was very concerned that I not be viewed as a “Fan.” I was taking this job seriously and I wanted to be taken seriously by everyone else. However, by the end, with 455 pictures on my camera and everyone asking me questions about Toby, I think my “cover” was blown! I think I did a good job, and I was able to keep my excitement in check, if not my camera!

I CAN NOT WAIT TO SEE THIS MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Members, CLICK HERE to see all the photos

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