Locals Only: HBO Wants You for New Series

Actors on the set of

Actors on the set of "Looking" at Doc's Clock on September 17. Courtesy of Michael Lannan Instagram.

When Sidecar driver Daniel Tannehill is not navigating San Francisco picking up commuters, he’s at gay clubs like Esta Noche picking up men—or at least, imitating the act of flirting with gay men.

Tannehill is straight. But on the occasional weekday, he’s dressed as a thug, or sometimes in a plaid shirt and trucker hat while socializing with dozens of others like him. Tannehill is an extra.

“The backstory for my character was that I was in jail for a crime I didn’t commit,” said Tannehill, 32, recalling the friendly atmosphere on set with other cast members and crew of HBO’s “Looking.” The experience was great. Whether they were or not, everyone is trying to be gay.”

Tannehill, who was cast in the pilot and a later episode, is part of the new series about a group of gay friends and set in the Castro and the Mission. You can be part of it, too. Over the next two months, “Looking” will hold open casting until November 8. According to the show’s casting company, Beau Bonneau, they will have a “constant need” for San Francisco Bay Area locals.

To date, casting needs have ranged from techie/gamer-types and leather/kink/fetish enthusiasts to fierce drag queens. Submissions are open to men and women, regardless of sexual orientation. Shoots can last up to 12 hours on average.

The most important requirement?

Be a local, according to Lauren Machado, production and marketing manager at the San Francisco Film Commission.

“We love to promote the community—that’s our mission,” said Machado, who works to connect productions with local neighborhoods and businesses for filming purposes.

Machado is impressed by the show’s strive for authenticity and says she’s glad to see “Looking” actually shooting in the city, and casting locals as extras.

“So often, you see shows based in San Francisco, but faking it,” she said, while acknowledging “Looking”‘s effort to highlight “pockets of the city,” whether it is a food scene or its people.

The TV dramedy series, which began filming on September 16, first caught our attention in April after witnessing the pilot being shot on Harrison and 20th street in the Mission. Filming has also been spotted at Doc’s Clock, Dolores Park, The Café and Esta Noche—one location where Tannehill witnessed the show’s lead actors mingling at a nightclub.

“Jonathan Groff was dancing and hugging trannies at a club,” Tannehill said.

“Looking” concerns the lives of young, successful gay men navigating life and love in present-day San Francisco. Stars include Jonathan Groff (“Glee”), Russell Tovey (“Being Human”), Frankie J. Alvarez (“Smash”), Murray Bartlett (“Damages”) and Scott Bakula (“Behind the Candelabra”). “Looking” director Michael Lannan is known for producing “Remember Me.”

The show is set to shoot eight episodes for its first season in San Francisco, and premiere in early 2014. Filming locations are expected to shuffle between 30 to 40 locations, with approximately 10 reoccurring sites, according to Machado.

Machado, who lives in SoMa, is excited to see how the show depicts her city. “San Francisco is kind of like one of the characters on the show,” she said.

Interested? Cast hopefuls can send an email to LookingExtras@gmail.com with the following information:

Subject line: name, approximate age, cell phone number

Union Status: SAG-AFTRA or non-union. If union, include member numbers.

City you live in and weekday available. Dates 9/16-10/1 and general availability 10/2-11/8.

Height, weight and clothing sizes/measurements

Attach two new color digital camera or camera phone snapshots, one close up from chest up smiling and one standing, both facing camera with hair down if long. No hats or sunglasses.

More submission information and casting dates (weekdays only) are available at Beau Bonneau.

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