Source: Sherman Publications

OHS grad to appear as extra on ‘Detroit 1-8-7’

by CJ Carnacchio

November 10, 2010

Jim Hughes is no stranger to television.

For 20 years, he’s worked as a jack-of-all-trades on both sides of the camera for Oxford Community Television, the local public access station.

Next week, Hughes, a 1978 graduate of Oxford High School, will make the leap to primetime network television as an extra on the new ABC police drama “Detroit 1-8-7.”

“The money’s not all that great, but it’s exciting to be on set,” he said.

In Episode #8, which airs at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16, Hughes believes he will appear as a golfer in the background of a scene featuring the show’s stars Michael Imperioli (of “Sopranos” fame) and Jon Michael Hill, who play homicide detectives Louis Fitch and Damon Washington.

The scene was shot at the Riverview Highlands Golf Course.

Hughes said he and a fellow extra portray golfers.

They start out chatting by the clubhouse, then they walk over to a golf cart and drive through the scene while Imperioli and Hill interview someone, possibly a suspect.

“You’ll see us drive by,” Hughes said.

Hughes worked as extra in a street scene for an earlier episode of “Detroit 1-8-7,” but he didn’t get any airtime.

Despite that, he had nothing but positive things to say about the show that revolves around a fictional Detroit homicide unit’s efforts to battle crime on a daily basis.

“Detroit 1-8-7 is really done very professionally. The crew is very polite,” Hughes said. “It’s kind of cool to see Detroit and local places you know and can go to.”

In addition to “Detroit 1-8-7,” Hughes has also recently worked as an extra in two movies.

He played a security guard in “This Must Be the Place,” a film starring Sean Penn set to be released next year.

Hughes was also part of a wedding scene shot in Troy for “The Reasonable Bunch,” a movie starring Demi Moore also due to be released next year.

All of his extra jobs are a result of Hughes’ involvement with a talent/casting agency, the Clawson-based Real Style. The agency’s website is

He said Real Style is “pretty well-known and well-respected in the area” and he recommends the agency to anyone looking to do some work as a television or movie extra.

Hughes got his first job as an extra for the 1992 film Hoffa, starring Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito. It was not a good experience.

He described it as “16 hours of work for a 30-second spot.” However, he noted he does appear in the film and can be seen if you freeze the shot on a DVD player.

Overall, Hughes said he prefers being an extra for television shows as opposed to movies because the work moves faster and the food is superior.

“You’d think you’d get fed better on a movie set, but you actually get fed better during a TV shoot,” he said.

Although being an extra is certainly fun and very exciting, Hughes said it’s not going to make anyone rich. “It pays like $8 an hour.”

There’s a lot of talk these days about the state possibly ending the tax credit incentives for the film industry because critics claim it’s actually costing Michigan more money than it’s bringing in, but Hughes believes that would be a mistake.

“It seems like it’s keeping a lot of people employed,” he said. “I hope the film industry stays in the Detroit area.”

According to the Michigan Film Office, since the tax credit incentives passed in 2008, more than 7,000 productions jobs have been created in the state along with an additional 4,000 jobs as extras and day players.

A total of 119 film projects have been shot in Michigan over the last two years.

Hughes believes having all these high-profile television shows and movies filmed here enhances both the city and state’s national image and this could, in turn, encourage businesses to move here. “Maybe seeing Detroit or Michigan in a positive light will bring industry to the area,” he said.