It took nearly a year and a half, but I finally got to see Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby on DVD recently. This movie is of great importance to me because I was an extra on the set for one day way back in October 2005. You can read my report on the day here. Well, the big question is, can you see me on the film. The answer is... yes, just barely, for less than half a second, off to the side. But, I'm 99% sure I'm there. Everything matches up with the clothes I was wearing, where I was standing at the time, etc. However, I'm (or whoever) far enough in the background that there is just a tiny little little room for doubt. Check out this screen capture and let me know what you think. Again, you pretty much have to go frame-by-frame on the DVD to see it, so it's definitely not a noticeable thing at all.
So, to break it down, you can see the celebration scene where Will Ferrell meets his gold-digging wife. That's on there, but it's part of a montage and very short. The other scene, where Cal and Ricky are talking after Cal's victory, I'm not sure how much they used because of the way it was edited together. When I was there for that scene, it was clear that it was a pick-up shot, kind of like a re-do that they could use later. So Maybe they used a lot, maybe they used a little. The third scene, which ironically was the most elaborate one, didn't even appear in the movie or in the deleted scenes: Ricky's Dad running through the entrance into "Talladega" speedway to watch his son race. Instead, they just put in a quick scene of him scalping the tickets instead. I'll be honest, it fits the character better and I'm sure was a whole lot easier to shoot as well.
It was dissapointing that the three scenes I took part in amounted to about 2 seconds in the film. Just goes to show how much work goes into making a major movie, all those people and equipment used for an entire day and you only get a tiny fraction of the whole film. But I have a feeling this movie was made in the editing room- they just shot a bunch of scenes, with lots of different improvisations, and then cut and pasted what worked and what didn't work into the movie. Sometimes, stuff just has to go.
As for the movie, well, it's funny. What did you expect?