Before They Were Stars (2-for-1 Special): Bruce Willis and Tobin Bell as Background Extras in “The Verdict”

The clip I posted yesterday of Harrison Ford’s bit part in Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round shows that some of the biggest movie stars in the world have had to start out in the most measly roles. Well, Bruce Willis actually has Harrison Ford beat out in the “starting at the very bottom” category since he had to pay his dues by being a background extra in a very famous scene! This is Paul Newman’s climactic courtroom speech in the Oscar-nominated film, The Verdict, which is filmed in one long unbroken take, and you can see Bruce Willis sitting in the background in a brown suit and tan shirt (and a full head of hair!). It’s hard to tell that it’s him at first, but when the camera eventually zooms in, you do get a very good look. Now, I’d known for a long time that Willis was an extra in this scene, but I did not discover until today that sitting on the bench in front of him in a brown suit is Jigsaw himself, Tobin Bell! Seriously, what are the odds that two future big-name actors would wind up appearing as background extras together in the same scene?! It’s actually really hard to focus on Newman’s speech since this scene has wound up turning into a game of “Where’s Waldo?”.

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