Jen: A quick introduction for those of you who don’t know. Ashleigh Raine is made up of two lifelong best friends, Jen (me!) and Lisa. We figured it best to get that introduction out of the way first so you don’t wonder why Ashleigh Raine keeps referring to herself in the third person. As Ashleigh Raine, Lisa and I write about actors and stunt drivers in our Hollywood Heat erotic romance series. But we don’t just write about Hollywood. We’ve both worked in and around the entertainment industry for more than thirteen years now. Although it’s been quite a few years since I’ve commuted into Los Angeles or worked on a movie set, Lisa still actively lives her Hollywood dream…and gets lots of great writer research in to boot! And occasionally makes me jealous, especially when she taunts me with texts mentioning touching Chris Hemsworth's arm and ogling Chris Evans's body. In those instances I'm allowed moments of best-friend hate, right?
Lisa: Let's get one thing straight...I didn't touch Chris Hemsworth's arm. I touched a cast of it made from a mold of it--which was very nice, but I'm betting touching the real thing is waaaaaay better. And that was a cast of Chris Evans's hot body--which I'd nicknamed "my boyfriend" before I knew the hot-man cast without a head was actually Chris Evans. Again, real thing probably waaaaaaay better. Random bodies and body parts--some human, some alien!--are always propped up, laying around all over the shop, and I tend to give them nicknames if I'm working next to them for too long.
Jen: Okay, for those who don't know about what you do, why don't you give a quick overview of your Hollywood job experiences.
Lisa: I was an extra for about seven years and when I'm lucky enough, I also get to work in a special effects costume shop. I work alongside sculptors, painters, engineering geniuses and leather and fabric wizards as a sort of jane of many intricate trades. One day I might be trimming urethane suits of armor used in stunt sequences, the next day hand-sewing magnets onto strapping, the following day bashing holes and setting grommets, next polishing Thor's helmet, then finally soldering LEDs onto circuit boards to make a costume light up. I rarely know what I'll be doing until I actually show up. It's always an adventure.
Jen: So for the last couple years, all your movie work has been behind the scenes, usually in costuming. What movies hitting theaters this summer did you work on?
Lisa: I worked on The Amazing Spider-Man, GI Joe 2 and Battleship while coworkers did The Avengers and Snow White and the Huntsman.
Jen: Damn, every one of those movies is a hot man smorgasbord. Is that on your resume? I work on hot men? And are you ever mistaken for a prostitute? ;)
Lisa: Ha ha. Been a prostitute extra on a few movies and TV shows! But I gotta admit that when I'm sewing the crotch into a hot man's costume, quite a few interesting images go through my mind!
Jen: For GI Joe, did you work on The Rock's costume? What was your experience like? Is he as awesome in real life as he comes across on Twitter?
Lisa: I worked on The Rock's tac vest while a cast of his smoldering hot torso stood on a worktable next to me. I set some grommets and screwed on some armor, but sadly didn't get to meet him. I did, however, work with him awhile back on a movie called Be Cool. He is a very, very nice man. Not just gorgeous. Between takes, he signed autographs for people walking by the movie set. He's very easy to fall in love with.
Jen: I remember when you worked on Battleship you told me that it was one of your weirdest costume experiences. Why?
Lisa: So there's this pile of gray foam boxes and gray nylon webbing and a bunch of magnets. I had to reposition the magnets--which were finger-biters if you got them too close to the metal plate on the sewing machine--and sew the fabric onto the boxes after repositioning them on the webbing. What? Yeah, me too. It got weirder. After I was done doing my part, little stickers were added and suddenly what I was doing made sense. These were physical parts of the actors' costumes which would be re-skinned in post-production. They were going to be CGI masterpieces rather than literally a bunch of irregular boxes on webbing. I heard the magnets were to hold a really big gun in place. Can't wait to see the movie just so I'll know what I was actually working on!
Jen: Since we both share a mad, ridiculous, huge love for Chris Hemsworth--OMG the man is so gorgeous--tell everyone in juicy detail what Chris's arms are like. And also the work you did on The Avengers and Snow White and the Huntsmen. And then let's talk about Chris some more just because he's worth sharing lots of dialogue about.
Lisa: But I never got to touch his arms! There was only one arm in the shop anyway. And I didn't get to work on Snow White and the Huntsman or The Avengers even though I really wanted to. However, while I was working on GI Joe, the girl next to me who was working on The Avengers heard about our huge love of Chris and shared with me something from when she got to hold the clipboard while Chris's measurements were being taken for the Thor costume. Suffice it to say, Chris Hemsworth is every bit the romance hero he appears to be. Tall, gorgeous and with every bit the niceness he seems to have in interviews. And when he smiles, yes, it's like sunshine. Those arms are really that big. Throughout the course of making Thor, he kept working out and outgrowing the sleeves on his costume. I'm guessing that's why he didn't have sleeves until the end of The Avengers, but I don't know for sure.
Jen: What was it like to work on The Amazing Spider-Man, and can you tell everyone what you did on the show?
Lisa: So, I was told to show up for work because they needed me for some precision trimming and gluing on both plastic and fabric. Okay, sure. Should be fun. My boss says, "Take these over to that table and wait for me so I can show you what you'll be doing." He hands me these red lumps of spandex...that look like hoods...with freakin' spiderwebs printed on them!!!!! OMG!!!! Spider-Man! I'm working on Spider-Man! And I'm not just working on Spider-Man, I'm working on SPIDER-MAN himself!!!! OMG!!!! I'm not even a fan and good golly this was huge. I just stood there, holding the hoods and my hands started shaking. I mean, this wasn't some hidden underwear seam or set of straps for a stunt costume. This was Spider-Man's face and I was gonna work on it! By the time my boss walked back over, I had to remind myself to pull my jaw back up off the floor so that I could get to the task at hand. In the end, I set the eyes in 64 or so hoods and I never got tired of it. My time on that costume is one of my most favorite experiences in my Hollywood "career".
Jen: Weren't you an extra in another Spider-Man movie a few years ago? How cool was it to revisit that mythology, this time seeing a different side of production?
Lisa: Yes, I was in Spider-Man 2 as an extra in some of the New York street exterior scenes. I remember back then that I was very disappointed they were all scenes with Peter Parker, not Spider-Man. I'd wanted to see the costume. Well, I see my work on The Amazing Spider-Man as an answer to that wish plus a whole lot more!
Jen: In closing, if you could work on only one movie coming out in the future--2013 or later--what movie would you choose and why and what would you want to do on it?
Lisa: I want to work on anything with Chris Hemsworth in it. I don't care what I'm doing--writing, acting, driving, sewing the crotch into his costume--as long as I get to do it. Why? Because then maybe I might get to have an adventure truly worth you being ridiculously, droolingly jealous about...the kind we can look back on and tell the story over and over again. Like the time I accidentally face-planted in Adam Sandler's lap. I'd undergo that kind of humiliation again, but only for you...and to land in Chris's lap no matter how embarrassing for all parties involved!
Jen: Chris’s lap is the perfect place to end our chat. It’s really the perfect place period.
If you want to learn more about us and our Hollywood loves, both the real and fictional variety, visit us on the web at www.ashleighraine.com where we have a section devoted to more of Lisa’s Tales from Hollywood. Check out our most recent erotic romance release, STARSTRUCK, book three in our Hollywood Heat series. And if you're just getting started with us, pick up book one, ACTING ON IMPULSE, at the low, introductory price of only 99 cents.