Soon after the story ran, it made its way to Michael Bay, who was fresh from coproducing Armageddon, one of the most successful movies of that era. The director, who declined to be interviewed for this column, wanted to film right away, but the studios wouldn't allow it. They wanted big-budget action stuff. In 2001, Bay directed Pearl Harbor, and in 2007, the first of his Transformers films brought in millions of dollars.

"[Mike] has been attached to Pain and Gain for a long time," producer Bryce says. "It is different for him, size-wise and story-wise. And he's very serious about authenticity. It will be true to the story."

J.J. Hook is the film's location manager. He spent three months in Miami before shooting for the film began a few weeks ago. He scouted 700 locations and settled on three areas: Biscayne, South Beach, and Coral Gables. For just the Schlotzky's sandwich shop locale, where a kidnapping attempt failed when a car wouldn't start, he considered 50 places. "That's almost as many as we have for a Transformers film," he says.

Pete Collins on the set with extras: Livin' la vida. Read his three-part series "Pain and Gain."
Chuck Strouse
Pete Collins on the set with extras: Livin' la vida. Read his three-part series "Pain and Gain."

There are about 125 members of the crew. Around 100 of them, and 60 extras, are from Miami. "This is a hard place to find extras," one crew member says. "Not many show up in the first place, and then they don't come back."

Mackie, who plays a member of the Sun Gym gang, is staying in a place downtown for two months while filming. He played a lead in 2009's much acclaimed The Hurt Locker and is clearly the up-and-comer of the Pain and Gain cast. "What I find fascinating is that these criminals failed so many times," he tells me on the set. "It was impressive that they kept going. They were dedicated to jacking this guy."

The film, which will take eight weeks to shoot, is scheduled for release next summer. Collins now lives in Orlando but came down for a day on the set. He says he was paid but has already spent his cut for use of the story. "I got it and it's gone," he adds, declining to name the dollar figure.

Then he ambles across the room, gathers three outlandishly beautiful models who are extras, puts his arms around them, and asks me to snap a picture. "It took me two years to write the story," he says, "and 12 to get the movie made. I am extremely happy."

« Previous Page
My Voice Nation Help
Marc S.
Marc S.

Too bad they did not consult me, It would have been a better movie. After all I was the one that gave Pete most of the story.

Ed DuBois Fan
Ed DuBois Fan

Congratulations to Pete Collins (& Ed DuBois!)

cole younger
cole younger

This is great for Miami.....I think ????


Shalhoub is not pudgy. Collins is what you would call pudgy. But fascinating story.

Tom Stedham
Tom Stedham

Speaking as one of the "extras" who didn't show back up...

I was booked and confirmed for 4 days work. I turned down bookings on the two tv shows filmed here, to take this gig. It's with Wahlberg; who wouldn't, right?

After one long (loooong) day poolside baking in the sun, I leave at 8:30 pm. I'm confirmed with casting to return tomorrow, 7 am. On the train, 20 minutes later, I get a cancellation. "Michael has changed some things around. We don't need you."

No matter the original (confirmed) booking. No matter that casting had just confirmed me for the next day. I call my "agent". "Oh well. It happens," I'm told.

No concern for missed work; no concern for cancelling a confirmed booking. Certainly no compensation for cancelling 3 days of booked work. Just... "oh well."

THAT is how extras are often treated, and it is why some extras come and go. Because we are sometimes treated as just that: "EXTRAS"...

Sadly, this is life at the bottom of the acting food chain.

Miami Concert Tickets