As a “joke,” Mark Falvo of Clearfield took a chance at being an extra on a movie set in Pittsburgh. First, he was chosen as a reporter and a bar patron in “Jack Reacher,” which starred Tom Cruise and Robert Duvall.
Later this month on “Those Who Kill” on A&E, Falvo’s familiar face will be in the background as a correctional officer. Then, in “House of Cards,” he may be seen as both a reporter and a press photographer.
Falvo travelled back and forth to Pittsburgh and Baltimore for the filming of both movies. He was on-set for seven weeks with Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Jodie Foster (director) and others for “House of Cards.”
“It was a great time and the other actors were very generous with suggestions,” he said.
Falvo would not claim it was hard work, as there was a lot of down time. He used his time to network with other people on the set.
“Sometimes, the stars would join the extras at lunch, which is usually unheard of until Jane Seymour sat down with us in Pittsburgh,” added Falvo. She shared stories and allowed him and other extras to share about their real lives, too.
Falvo’s travels not only took him to Baltimore and Pittsburgh, but also to Boston, Cleveland, Columbus and Kent and soon to Philadelphia and New York City.
“Draft Day” with Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner and Denis Leary comes out in April. Falvo found Costner very “open to talk to and friendly” while on the set at the Cleveland Browns’ indoor training facility.
According to Falvo, Costner showed interest in where all the extras were from. He also discussed a particular scene of the film with them. He described Garner as being “like an old friend and very friendly.”
Falvo also appeared in films for educational purposes for William and Mary’s History Department. He played a catcher on a baseball team. The movie, he said, was shown nationwide.
After other educational-related appearances at Kent State and West Virginia for the History Channel, Falvo headed to Pittsburgh for “Foxcatcher.” This one, he said, is Bennett Miller’s soon-to-be released film about Jon DuPont and Olympic wrestling’s Schultz brothers, Mark and David; the latter of whom was killed by DuPont.
“Those days started at 5:30 a.m. and ended at about 2 a.m. or 2:30 a.m.,” said Falvo. “We got about a half-hour for lunch around 7 p.m., so we carried a lot of crackers with us.
“We met a lot of great wrestlers like ‘Mean’ Gene Mills, ‘Screwey’ Louie Lazzari and other notables from wrestling, including recent Olympians. Once I said I was from Clearfield, they started to ask questions. Do you know Neil Turner, Garry Barton or Brad Pataky?’”
For “Foxcatcher,” Falvo said, they filmed at several locations with Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo and Steve Carrell. Carrell, he said, was in character as DuPont, adding that Tatum and Ruffalo were really “great guys.”
“They were fantastic and Bennett Miller was awesome as a director,” he said. “I had the chance to watch from the scorer’s table.
“I enjoyed the process of what the director wanted, the different angles involved and the input the actors contributed.”
Falvo has been in a couple of web series and independent films. He’s also been called back to enlarge upon his role. After filming with Lauren Dern and Shailene Woodley in “The Fault of Our Stars,” Falvo realized that it’s a director’s medium.
“If you see me, fine; if not, there’s another job,” he said. “Plus, you aren’t going to get rich as an extra, but the people and friends you make are awesome.”