Exclusive interview with Carmen Hubis who worked as an extra in the 1988 hit film Beetlejuice
By K Busch
Carmen Hubis worked as an extra in the hit comedic film, Beetlejuice which was directed by Tim Burton released in March of 1988. She teaches 2nd grade in public schools, this past year she served as a virtual teacher for COVID.
Ms. Hubis was born in L.A. and later lived in Huntington Beach. She graduated with liberal studies for education, bachelors from California State University of Long Beach. She is also fluent in Spanish and frequently attends Zumba classes.
She originally participated in various beauty pageants when she was younger and while at an Orange County beauty pageant was 1 of 4 girls selected to audition for acting roles.
She played the ticket agent that allowed passengers on the plane and also room the tickets from Jeff Goldblum and Michelle Pfieffer as the boarded the plane in Into The Night (1985). She also played a cop that goes to the bar where Jim Carrey is with two of his friends as she throws one of his friends against the wall to frisk search him in Once Bitten (1985).
She has been married since 1988 after meeting her spouse in an pin ball arcade, she insists that she “continued winning” at the pin ball game as she conversed with her then to be future husband.
She also did stand in work for lighting on the set for different actresses on different occasions including: Constance Marie, Delta Burke, and Gina Gallegos.
She served as a double for Gina Gallegos in some of the scenes in the movie My Demon Lover (1987) where she supposedly rolls down a hill, but it was in fact Ms. Hubis doing so and then again when she appeared in a lake in the middle of the night.
How did you come about working as an extra in Beetlejuice?
I was sent by a casting agency, Janet Cunningham casting agency for an interview, later veining a featured extra which is a more that has more close up role. I remember going to this white house to audition, beside another group of about 4-5 others. We were to audition before a panel of about another 4-5 people that sat at a long table.
I recall that they looked at our facial features and I later received a call that I was selected to play the “dead secretary” for Beetlejuice on March 10, 1987.
I then on March 23rd went to Lard studios in Culver city near LA X, which used to be Culver’s studios and even known as Culver’s city studio's, for a fitting and ended up starting to film my part on April 13th of 1987 which was a Monday and took about 4 days to complete being around that coming Thursday.
What was it like on the set of Beetlejuice?
It was fun and exciting, especially my part, we were in costumes and fun wardrobes, the special effects and makeup was very different than any set I had been on.
I was in the group sitting at the desk and worked as a special feature extra.
I remove the first time I saw it myself on the big screen when I went with my husband to a drive-in movie and saw myself which I admit was rather exciting to see.
Do you have a background in acting?
Yes, I have a background in acting, I pursued an acting career for about 5.5 years and tried steadily for about 4 of those years. I was a member of screen actors guild and AFTRA and did voice overs for commercials.
I did some “5 lines or less” and also did some for the Spanish station. I landed a speaking part with Kelly from Top Gun a TV show in New York. I was also a background artist as well as working as an extra.
I was on the daytime show Days of Our Lives, with Roman when he was in jail back in the 1980s. I was dressed this traditional Columbian outfit and said, let's dance to break Roman out of jail.
I also did a lot of background work for about 100 movies and 50-60 commercial's as well as movie videos by dancing in the background.
I worked on videos for Prince. I did regular background work for Moonlighting with Cybil Shepherd as well as Head of the Class, Night Court and LA Law.
My headshot (picture) was used in the 1988 movie Cop that starred James Woods.
I also once met Henry Winkler who I found to be very nice, on the Nightshift set, I remember I had went to the interview and he looked at my photos and liked my pictures and was very detailed in what he liked about them.
What was your favorite part of working on Beetlejuice?
Just being on the set and seeing the cool costumes and makeup. I loved everything about it.
Do you have a favorite actor or actress?
My favorite actor is Johnny Depp from 21 Jump Street, which I used watch all the time and John Travolta, I loved the movie Pulp Fiction. As for actresses I really like Sandra Bullock.
Do you have a favorite quote?
“If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.” I tell my students all the time.
“Do unto others as you would want done unto you” is another one of my favorite quotes and I feel ties back into bit saying anything at all if you don’t have something nice to say.
Do you have a favorite hobby?
I like Zumba, it is a hobby and lifestyle, I currently dance between 5-6 days a week. I attend Zumba five days a week.
I also do videos Danny Menjivar dance fitness on YouTube with over 15k followers. Eddy Zin Garcia I do videos for him as well. (Kombi king) We have done Shania Twain and fun hip hop videos.
What advice would you give to others seeking positions in acting or working as extras?
I would tell them to not spend a lot of money, as there are a lot of scams be weary about.
You do need headshots.
It’s also good to get a good photographer and work with a casting agency that is with the Screen Actors Guild, which may have occasional registration fees but isn’t asking for much money.
You need to be able to accept rejection and not give up before you get a “yes”.
What’s something that you have rarely told anyone about yourself?
I don't tell many people in my teaching about my acting and Zumba work, I like to keep them separated. A lot of people don't know I was in pageants.
When I was little my dad was in a band, they would do mini-dance contests and I would always be in the dance contests. I have liked dancing since I was a kid.
My mom was a teacher from Mexico and my dad was from Columbia, South America.
What are some of your current goals or ambitions?
I do dancing, I have been asked by people if I wanted to do Beetlejuice 2 as there are rumors circulating that there will be.
I’ve been approached and asked by people that wish there were more photos and information from the original Beetlejuice.
French Filmmaker Fred China is working on a documentary about Beetlejuice, titled, “Documentary for the recently deceased” I was interviewed back in 2019 prior to COVID by him on it and found out my former colleague from Beetlejuice, being Debra Palmer who has been cut in half, playing the magicians assistant had given him my contact information.
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