Weather Updates

Casting call could lead to stardom — or not

Cast frew shoot scene for 'Chicago Fire' outside Arden Shore Child Family Services Waukegan Sept. 27 2012. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times

Cast and frew shoot a scene for "Chicago Fire" outside Arden Shore Child and Family Services in Waukegan Sept. 27, 2012. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media

storyidforme: 52872147
tmspicid: 13789190
fileheaderid: 6349640

Updated: September 3, 2013 6:56AM

At first, it was Todd Netherton’s 2002 Ford Excursion that was going to be a TV star, or at least part of the background on a TV show.

But like Barbra Streisand and/or Judy Garland in “A Star is Born,” the Excursion watched as Netherton rose to fame, or least an expanded role on the TV show.

That’s the realm of possibility for Lake County vehicle owners as they respond to the latest casting call for “Chicago Fire,” which returns to Waukegan Aug. 12-14 for another spin on the Melvin E. Amstutz Expressway.

“Make Money, Be in a TV Show!” reads a flyer making the rounds this week. “The NBC series ‘Chicago Fire’ is casting people from Waukegan to drive in our exciting car scene filming in Waukegan.”

The flyer adds that interested parties must be 21 and older, and they would work as “paid, non-speaking extras.”

The advertised rate is $80 for a one-day, eight-hour shoot plus at least $30 in gas if your vehicle is picked.

The curious are asked to send “a photograph with height, weight, clothing sizes, and age ASAP to, (and) put ‘W. CAR’ in the subject line. Let us know the color, year and make of your car!”

That’s how it started last fall for Netherton, a Waukegan resident and retired Lake Forest firefighter. As he told the News-Sun back in October, his Excursion’s bid for glory ended with its owner being picked for a non-speaking role as a “Chicago Fire” accident victim.

Since then, Netherton said, he was called for another “Fire” walk-through as a limousine driver who sells a vehicle to David Eigneberg’s Christopher Herrmann, and he’s also taken parts as an extra in such local productions as the new ABC series “Mind Games” with Christian Slater and Steve Zahn.

What advice would Netherton give someone responding to this latest “Chicago Fire” casting call?

“Don’t get upset if they don’t pick you. I’ve been turned down more than I’ve been picked,” he said on Wednesday, July 31. “And sometimes they don’t call you until a couple of days out.”

He added that “it’s been a lot of fun doing all these things,” all of which started with him thinking “I’ll just sit on the Amstutz all night in my truck.” And, yes, he’s thrown his hat in the ring to sit on the Road to Nowhere for at least another eight hours.

‘I’ve been in about 12 shoots,” he said, “and I’m waiting on lucky 13.”

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.