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Fund This Film: ‘Jesse Heiman: World’s Greatest Extra’ Follows an Unlikely New Hollywood Icon

By  · Published on July 13th, 2013

Fund This Film: ‘Jesse Heiman: World’s Greatest Extra’ Follows an Unlikely New Hollywood Icon

With tons of movie and TV appearances under his belt, chances are you’ve seen Jesse Heiman before. You may not know it, though, because he’s just an extra (in The Social Network, Spider-Man, Old School and more). However, you probably do remember him by face from the Go Daddy commercial that ran during the Super Bowl this year. Heiman was the chubby nerd who got to make out with supermodel Bar Refaeli (shocking millions of viewers, although it’s rather tame compared to his threesome as “lucky party goer” in The Rules of Attraction, if you ask me). Ever since that ad, he’s been more recognized and more confident. The latter result recently got him in trouble when he went a little too far trying to kiss married Twilight actress Nikki Reed, but otherwise this is a guy who could now be on the rise as a bit player.

And the documentary Jesse Heiman: World’s Greatest Extra will be tracking him whether his fame truly grows or not. This feature film is currently in production, following a year in the life of the guy, and the filmmakers are looking for financial help via Kickstarter. It could be an interesting look at Hollywood and a little-seen side of the industry. Sure, there’s been Ricky Gervais’s Extras series and the documentary Strictly Background, which follows a number of professional film extras, but Heiman is a different breed. He’s one of the most distinct-looking individuals doing work that’s usually supposed to be for nondescript (not noticeable) faces. Does he deserve more recognition? Should World’s Greatest Extra be the movie business equivalent of 20 Feet From Stardom? I guess we’ll find out once the doc comes out, which looks to be as far off as July 2015.

Produced and directed by Nick Weis, the film does have an oddly appealing subject, even if he winds up being the sort that viewers laugh at more than with. Weis has also already worked out a three act structure for the story (though we’ll forgive him if any of it changes, because this is after all a documentary and real life unfolding). Act One details the set up of Heiman’s career up through what initially inspired the project, a fan-made montage of the guy’s viewable film work (watch that here), and then the Go Daddy spot. Act Two is what happened after the commercial gave him higher notoriety. And Act Three is sort of an unknown, as it’s whatever happens next. Weis and Co. have also shared a good basic breakdown of what the money is for.

By the way, part of what the money is for is charity. The production has teamed up with Heiman’s favorite non-profit, the Poopie Foundation (aka Lucky Puppy Rescue and Retail) of Studio City, California. That means you can actually claim part of your pledge as a tax deduction on your return next year. Just a little bit of money could help some puppies, some filmmakers, a notable film extra and yourself. Oh, plus you can get a t-shirt with Heiman’s face on it, which should be a real conversation starter. Maybe it’ll even lead to you kissing supermodels who inquire about it.

Watch the Jesse Heiman: World’s Greatest Extra crowdfund campaign video below for more information and the teaser trailer.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.