Chicago Runners Needed to be TV Show Extras and Become Famous

Emmy Award for Best Extra

And the Emmy for Best Extra in a comedy or drama goes to…

What do Robert DeNiro, Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, Al Pacino, and Meryl Streep all have in common?  They are all award-winning actors/actresses that started their career as an extra on a TV show.  All right, I have no idea if that’s actually true – it’s probably not.  But it could be I suppose, which is all that really matters. Right? Maybe not, oh well – that’s the intro I’m going with.

Anyways, I know how us runners like getting medals and stuff, so if you too want to someday win an Oscar or at least an Emmy, here’s your chance to get started.  The NBC show Chicago Fire is looking for runners (or at least people that look like they run – which is a good opportunity to show off your acting chops you honed while playing a rock in your 2nd grade class’s stage adaptation of The Godfather) to work as extras for an upcoming episode.  The episode involves a 5k benefiting the Fire Dept where some sort of accident happens at the race.  They may arc it (look at me with all the Hollywood lingo) with an episode for Chicago PD as well.

I just talked with Cole at the casting company, and he asked if I could help spread the word since they’re looking for more than 200 runners.  They’ll be shooting in Chicago sometime between February 21st and March 21st, but don’t know the exact date(s) yet that they’ll need the runners.  Extras could be needed for 1 day, 3 days, or 5 days depending on how things go.  Each day could start as early as 5 am, and be as long as 15-18 hours.  You’ll also get paid for your foray into television stardom – $80/day for eight hours, then time and a half after that.

Here’s all the details from the Chicago Fire Extras Facebook page:

Crossover show Casting Alert! Searching for males and females, who can dress like runners and can run for our crossover scene (you won’t be running long distances, just a little bit) and look like you are runners. This is the cool scene where an accident happens at this race. If you already sent in, please send in again with a picture of yourself in running clothes (sweats, etc.) send to and put “runner” in the subject line. Include your height, weight, age, and phone number. Please only send in if you can work multiple days.

Cole mentioned to be sure to include your phone number in your email as noted above so they can call you back.

And just think of the awesome viewer party you’ll get to throw once the episode finally airs.  All your friends will be huddled around the TV waiting to see you, and then your moment arrives.  You pause the TV and exclaim, “There, there I am!!! You can clearly see my left shoulder in the upper left hand corner of the screen!  I’d recognize that shoulder anywhere!!!”

When you finally accept your Emmy for best work as an extra in a comedy or drama television series, just be sure to remember to thank me in your speech (remember, there are two As in Soar Feat – I’m a bit concerned the pun will get phonetically lost, but I trust you).


…and hat tip to the blog Zach Runs Chicago which is where I first learned of this, via a tweet from Chicago Run Bloggers.


  • All right, if I had bothered to do 30 seconds of research I would have realized my initial premise wasn’t all that far off. Here’s a list of actors that started as extras:

  • I’ve seen Dazed and Confused too many times and had no idea Renee Zellweger was in it. that movie has a bunch of people in it – some known others not at the time.

    I saw this news yesterday. It’s interesting but it’ll be tough to break away for an extra job – my wife might not be a supportive on this one. Good share though.

    • Great movie – it probably says something about withstanding the test of time in that I’ve run across two mentions of it today…21 years after its release. Chicago Tribune also had an article today about Matthew McConaughey’s past roles (ahead of his Academy award nomination) and how his first words ever said on camera were “All right, all right, all right!”

      I’m in the same boat on the ‘Extras’ thing, have to wait and see if the scheduling will work out for me.

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